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San Jacinto College to Expand Training in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration

The following article was authored by Rob Vanya of San Jacinto College:

San Jacinto College is introducing new courses in HVACR in response to requests by industry partners and to enhance the training of graduates of the program.

As with many skilled craft trades, HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) is evolving and adapting due to rapidly changing technology. The San Jacinto College HVACR program offers a wide range of courses and degree options at the North and South campuses, and stays in step with trends and developments by maintaining industry partnerships and advisory committees at both campuses.

The North Campus two-year associate degree program focuses on commercial and industrial training, while the South Campus associate degree program focuses on residential and light commercial training. Both campuses also offer occupational certificate programs, and certificate of technology programs that can be completed in four months to one year.

One of the new courses that will be offered at both campuses is Air Conditioning Installation and Startup. San Jacinto College training in the past has focused largely on diagnostics and repair, with limited focus on installation of HVACR systems. The new installation course is described as “a study of air conditioning system installation, refrigerant piping, condensate disposal, and air cleaning equipment with emphasis on startup and performance testing with learning outcomes that include: installing air conditioning equipment and evaluating system performance; demonstrating disposal and recycling of materials, including refrigerants and mercury; demonstrating bending and cutting technique for system piping; and installing equipment and ductwork according to industry standards to maximize efficiency.”

The new installation course will expand training for graduates and consequently increase their earning potential. “While a number of our students go to work immediately after graduating gaining on-the-job training, a number of students would like to get the advanced HVAC skills,” commented Kevin Morris, South Campus dean of business and technology. “To allow them this opportunity, we have created this workplace simulation course. The new installation course will provide them with a work experience in a simulated workplace environment under the direction of our HVAC faculty with input from our local industry partners who we meet with regularly.”

A new course that will be available at the South Campus only will be Technical Customer Service for HVACR. The course will cover general principles of customer service within a technical environment, including internal/external customer relationships, time-management, best practices, and verbal and non-verbal communications skills. Learning outcomes will include: internal/external customer relationships; responding to customer questions and complaints in a polite and thorough manner; updating customers on work progress to maintain customer satisfaction; communicating technical information in a clear, precise and logical manner; and identifing verbal and non-verbal communications skills.

“Understanding customer service is very important to employers today, since technicians often make the first impression on the customer and act essentially as the face of the company,” Morris said. “This course will teach students how to effectively work as a team, how to communicate with the customer in problem solving and explaining solutions in a non-technical manner.”

In addition to the new installation course, the North Campus HVACR program is also introducing two other new courses that will focus on advanced commercial and industrial systems: Specialized Commercial Refrigeration, and Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing HVAC Systems.

The Specialized Commercial Refrigeration course covers the components, accessories, and service of specialized refrigeration units, such as ice machines, soft-serve machines, cryogenics, and cascade systems. Students will learn about different types of commercial refrigeration equipment, and learn to troubleshoot the electrical and mechanical refrigeration cycle of commercial refrigeration equipment.

The Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing HVAC Systems course covers the process of checking and adjusting building environmental systems to produce design objectives with an emphasis on energy efficiency. Students will learn how to interpret HVAC design specifications and plans, how to measure air flow, water flow and system pressure, and how to perform calculations for fan and pump laws.

“The addition of the specialized commercial refrigeration course will allow us to tailor our curriculum to serve industries with commercial cold storage units, or mobile units that operate at very low temperatures,” commented Dr. Kerry Mix, dean of technology and business at the North Campus. “This can include refrigerated ship containers, or over-the-road truck trailers that contain cryogenic materials.”

The new testing, adjusting, and balancing course will deal with the aspects of efficiency and energy savings that is increasingly more important in large commercial applications. “All of these new courses will help provide a diverse learning experience that will allow our students to establish careers in many different segments of the HVACR market,” Mix said.

To find out more about HVACR training at San Jacinto College, please visit sanjac.edu/career/air-conditioning-technology.