Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When someone mentions air conditioning, I think of small window
units. Is this all there is to it?
A: No. Air conditioning is part of a larger industry called HVAC-R. This
stands for Heating/ Ventilating/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration. Units
range in size from small window units to units larger than a house.
Q: If I become an air conditioning or refrigeration technician, what
will I do during the winter?
A: You will be busy all year. A typical HVAC-R technician will work on
air conditioning and refrigeration units all year, even in the winter.
Many commercial buildings require cooling all year round. Supermarkets
need refrigeration to keep their produce fresh even in the winter. All
houses and most commercial buildings require some type of heating units.
Q: Do I need a four-year degree to be successful?
A: No. The associate's degree from Hudson Valley Community College is
all that is required. Some students with the time and resources do go
on to four-year colleges, but this is not a requirement for success.
Q: Do many women enter the HVAC-R field?
A: No. Presently it is a male-dominated field, but that is slowly changing.
There really is no reason for this, other than the fact that the HVAC-R
industry is not a high-profile business. Some women in the last few years
have discovered the wonderful opportunities provided by this industry.
The HVAC-R industry is as wide open to women as it is to men.
Q: Are computers used in this industry?
A: Yes. This industry is using computers at an ever-increasing rate.
It started with basic programmable thermostats. Computers now control
entire buildings systems. A computer can perform all aspects of indoor
climate control. Computers are also used extensively in the design of
Q: Why don't we hear more about this field?
A: The HVAC-R field is one of the best-kept secrets of modern society.
The equipment that provides warm or cool and clean air to our homes and
businesses is out of sight. We never think about it until it breaks down.
Consequently, few people ever notice how large and important an industry
Q: How large an industry is it?
A: It is a $175-billion-per-year industry. Think about it: Almost every
building in the USA has some type of HVAC-R units in it. There are
many facets of the business, from the manufacturing to the installation
to the service of this equipment.