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A Career in HVAC and Refrigeration Awaits!

The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC and R) Industry designs, builds, maintains and repairs essential indoor comfort and cooling systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning. As a result of the expanding markets for refrigeration and air conditioning and changing technology, a dramatic need exists for qualified personnel both at home and abroad.


BCIT offers a number of career paths to rewarding employment in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Training is provided at the technician level as well as pre-apprenticeship and full apprenticeship levels. Upgrade training in refrigeration systems is offered on a part-time study basis for those working in the industry.

No matter which route into the trade you choose, your education and training at BCIT will open the door to exciting jobs solving a wide range of technical problems in diverse industry settings.

Summary of Programs

Refrigeration Mechanic Foundation program prepares students for entry-level employment in the commercial refrigeration industry. Upon successful completion of this program, students should seek an entry-level position as an apprentice in this field or in other related industries. Graduates of the Refrigeration Mechanic Foundation program who enter the trade within one year of graduation can expect credit for the first level of technical training for the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic apprenticeship.

HVAC and R Technician co-op diploma
program provides a foundation in basic heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration system design, installation and service with an on-the-job experience component to support BCIT instruction. The program is two years in duration combining classroom and shop instruction with cooperative education experience in industry. The first year is devoted to direct refrigeration systems. The second year includes a broad range of topics focused on HVAC systems design, operation and controls. Emphasis will be placed on diagnosis, service requirements and procedures.

HVAC and R Technician non-coop certificate program virtually replicates the technical content of the two year co-op diploma, providing the same foundation in HVAC and refrigeration systems through an intense 41 week program. Students with high motivation and focused determination will be successful in this theory focused program. This program provides enhanced hands-on training in our modern shop with commercial heat pumps, air conditioners, refrigeration coolers and freezers.

Refrigeration Mechanic Apprenticeship requires 6,210 workplace hours and four courses in-school technical training totalling 990 hours. After completion of training and passing the Grade B Gasfitter’s exam, a B.C. Certificate of Apprenticeship, B.C. Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal, will be awarded in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic.

HVAC & Refrigeration Training Chart

Review our HVAC and Refrigeration trades career progression chart to see how you can start your career.

Career Progression Chart [PDF]