Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technician

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Sauk’s HVAC program is geared towards individuals who want to enter the residential, commercial or industrial processes involved with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

The first class explains the importance of pressure/temperature and pressure/enthalpy relationships and applies the constructs to authentic field experiences. This class is also a great starting point for a building engineer or an individual going into building maintenance. After successfully completing the theory based class, the student will enter into classes that involve the correct use of tools utilized in the field and during troubleshooting procedures. Additional classes include basic refrigeration, gas heating, hydronics, sheet metal, heat pumps, advanced controls, installation, commercial refrigeration and various electives focused on more technical areas. Along with HVAC specific classes the student has the opportunity to take renewable energy and energy related classes to broaden their understanding of energy and efficiency. The student will leave the program with the basic skill set necessary to apply for a job in the residential or commercial HVAC market.

Career Facts

Job Description

Controlling the temperature of our environment and maintaining a comfort level is the task of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician. Heating and cooling systems control the temperature, humidity and often the cleanliness of the air in our homes, schools, stores, offices and factories. HVAC mechanics are skilled workers  who install, maintain and repair those systems

Who is a Good Fit?

HVAC work is ideal for an individual that is energetic and enjoys problem solving and physical work.


There is a two year degree and a one year certificate available at SVCC.


The average starting pay after school is approximately $14/hr at an entry level position. As skills are developed, average union pay is approximately $40/hr for fitters and sheet metal workers. The HVAC field is a trade that can be taken to any geographic area the individual desires


Instructor Story

Chris Carlson

SVCC Instructor since 2008

hvac1Chris has been in the HVAC field most of his adult life either as a technician, a teacher, or both. Spending most of his career as a technician in commercial/industrial HVAC, he is very familiar with the field. He has practical, hands-on experiences. At one time his service area spanned from Chicago to Indianapolis. And while he enjoyed the HVAC field, he also enjoyed teaching and the interaction with students. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching, it’s good to see my [students] grow into a good technician.” Chris has been teaching since the late 80s either as an adjunct instructor or fulltime at Sauk and has seen many of his students go on to have good jobs in the field.

Chris’ practical experiences in the HVAC field only helps his students. He strongly recommends to his students to find a good internship program while at Sauk to expand their knowledge base. Unfortunately, due to the rural nature of Sauk, they may be difficult to come by. So, Chris helps some of his students by conducting internships right on Sauk’s property. “We spend time repairing things at the school, installation, electrical wiring, etc.” he says. The next best thing to do is to replace the internship with another class and many of the students take a renewable energy course to really expand their knowledge base.

HVAC is a very portable degree. “You can take the HVAC degree anywhere you want,” Chris says. Certainly the skills you learn at Sauk translate to any other state. Some good, high paying jobs are available in commercial or industrial works. Chris encourages his students to move that direction in their careers. “I tell them to get into industrial work” because that’s where most of the jobs are.

Chris brings practical work experience to his lessons and stresses hands-on learning to develop quality graduates.

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