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HVAC & Refrigeration Technology

The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) field is growing quickly. Demand for workers is high because there are not enough skilled technicians to fill all the available positions.

Our HVAC/R program will give you the appropriate mix of soft skills, theory, hands-on experience. We put classroom theory into practice in the lab with simulations and real-life scenarios to give you the skill necessary to be successful in the HVAC/R industry.  We use a variety of modern HVAC/R equipment, trainers, simulation software, measuring instruments, and tools. Our program is designed to give you the core competencies employers are looking for. These include troubleshooting, problem-solving, customer service, and professional skills in addition to technical HVAC/R skills. Graduates of our program enter the HVAC/R industry as quality, well-trained entry-level HVAC/R technicians.

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Degree Description

Associate in Applied Science
61-64 Credit Hours, 18-Month Program

The Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC/R) program prepares students with the necessary skills to be successful in the career field. Students will take coursework in theory, HVAC electrical applications, installation practices, low, medium, and high-temperature commercial refrigeration and other technical skills.

The HVAC graduate will be able to work on residential heating, air conditioning, heat pump, low, medium, and high-temperature commercial refrigeration systems. Install, troubleshoot, and repair equipment using copper tubing, PVC, and other accepted materials. The graduate will install a wide range of gas and electrical forced-air furnaces. Students will install, troubleshoot, test, and repair electrical components on heating, air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration systems. Learn to troubleshoot and repair various types of commercial ice machines, water coolers, and common domestic and commercial HVAC/R appliances. They will be introduced to commercial air conditioning, chilled water, hydronic heating, and numerous unique refrigeration systems found in the HVAC/R industry. Students will study indoor air quality, air distribution and balancing methods used in the field. In addition, basic Direct Digital Controls (DDC) and electronic control circuits will be explored. Many of the theory lessons will be applied in lab settings and scenarios commonly found in the HVAC/R field. This program also will provide education and training in soft skills such as communication and math.

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Application Process

1. Complete Western Dakota Technical College Admissions Application
2. Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15 fee)
3. Schedule your Admissions Advising Session
4. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence. Additionally, an official transcript must be submitted if you have attended other post-secondary institutions or universities.
5. Submit Immunization Records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations
6. Once you receive your acceptance letter, schedule a time to register for classes

The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub-score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading.  To waive the ACCUPLACER with SAT scores a student will need a 500 on the MATH subsection of ACT and a composite of 970 to waive Writing and Reading. To place into MATH 114 a student will need a 520 on the MATH subsection.  

Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment.

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Career Description

HVAC/R is a growing career field, and employers need well-trained technicians who can step right in and start working. Western Dakota Technical College’s program is designed to do just that – and do it quickly.

HVAC/R is listed as a Bright Outlook occupation, meaning it is projected to grow much faster than the national average. HVAC/R Climate-control systems generally need replacement after 10 to 15 years. A large number of recently constructed homes and commercial buildings will need replacement climate-control systems by 2020, spurring demand for technicians.

HVAC/R is also listed as a Green Occupation. The growing emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction will require more HVAC and HVAC/R technicians as climate-control systems are retrofitted, upgraded, or replaced entirely. Regulations prohibiting the discharge and production of older types of refrigerant pollutants also will result in the need to modify or replace many existing air conditioning systems.

Check out this article by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about industry outlook for HVAC/R technicians.

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Virtual Tour HVAC/Refrigeration Lab

Take the Virtual Tour Now Next, schedule an on-campus tour and receive a FREE WDTC T-Shirt when you arrive.

General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2021, the average wage in western South Dakota was $48,060.

Meet Your Faculty

Western Dakota Technical College has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.

  • David Eckmann

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Technical College wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDTC is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Technical College will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.

Student Housing

Finding affordable housing during school can be a challenge for students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not have on-campus housing, but partners with a Rapid City VRBO to offer a limited number of apartments for full-time students in the fall and spring semesters.

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Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Technical College provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Technical College of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Technical College makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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