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TCC to begin new associate program

6/23/2014, 12:28 p.m.
Tidewater Community College will now offer an associate degree in Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology (HVAC/R).

Tidewater Community College will begin offering an associate degree in Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology (HVAC/R) with the start of fall classes on Aug. 25.

The 67-credit degree program prepares students for careers in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry as technicians in the areas of service, maintenance and installation. Students will have obtained the Environmental Protection Agency certification upon graduation.

The field faces a shortage of skilled workers locally and nationally, said Harlan Krepcik, program head for HVAC/R at the college. “HVAC/R has the highest demand for new workers among the technical fields,” he said. “The income opportunities are there, and the future is bright for someone who wants to get into the field.”

Prior to developing the curriculum for the associate degree, TCC faculty and staff collaborated with HVAC/R business professionals and employers throughout Hampton Roads to determine current needs in the industry. “The result was a curriculum designed to fit the needs of the business community,” Krepcik said. “TCC is responding directly to what employers are looking for.”

While TCC is one of three colleges in the Virginia Community College System to offer an HVAC/R associate degree – the others are Northern Virginia Community College and Virginia Highlands Community College – it is the first to allow students to specialize in one of five areas. Students can specialize in residential, commercial, weatherization, supervision and management or energy management.

“Specializing in one aspect of the industry is absolutely supported by the business community,” Krepcik said. “That will reduce the learning curve for new employees.”

TCC will also continue to offer a 35-credit certificate in HVAC/R. .