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Banner with school logo and school name and motto
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2024 – 2025

HVAC/R – Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Jeff Wildrick, Academy A Administrator – Ext. 291

Course & Program of Studies

Statement of Purpose

The HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning – Refrigeration) industry offers a rapidly expanding and lucrative career path, providing high-paying opportunities for individuals. We welcome students from diverse backgrounds and abilities, fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential. Today, nearly every building incorporates some form of climate control system, with over 95% of newly constructed residential homes featuring central air conditioning and advanced electronic appliances. Similarly, commercial establishments such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and high-rise buildings rely on modern Energy Management Systems (EMS) to efficiently manage their facilities.

Graduates of this field have numerous career paths to explore, including Licensed Refrigeration Technician, HVAC/R Service Technician, Electrical Control Wiring Technician, and Oil Burner/Gas Heating Technician. Further education opens doors to careers as mechanical engineers, building superintendents, or entrepreneurial opportunities. The wide range of possibilities in this dynamic and rewarding field extends globally, offering lucrative employment prospects.

Students receive comprehensive training in trade fundamentals, safety protocols, and specialized equipment usage. Their education progresses into theoretical study covering electricity and control wiring, refrigeration, air conditioning, and gas and oil heating systems and delve into commercial systems and participate in the school’s off-campus construction program, engaging in community projects related to their trade. Additionally, certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandatory for those handling refrigerants. At GNBRVTHS, students enrolled in our program can obtain EPA certification before graduation, with relevant coursework and hands-on lab experience fulfilling trade licensure requirements.

Students working in HVAC

Exploratory Program

This course is a three day introduction for freshman exploratory students for an entry level position as a HVAC/R apprentice. Introduction of residential, light commercial refrigeration, air conditioning and heating equipment, and sheet metal fabrication will be explained and demonstrated. Students will perform electrical, copper soldering, and sheet metalworking projects during the exploratory program. Students will be trained in the safe operation of hand tools and other equipment to complete these tasks.

HVAC Equipment

Freshman Program

The HVAC/R Freshman shop course prepares students that have completed their exploratory instruction hands on experience working in modern HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning & refrigeration) equipment at the residential level. Students learn the basics and tool use of the HVAC/R and Sheet Metal trade. This course should be completed in a 42 day period.

Instruction begins with review of trade safety. Students are then introduced to the many different types of commercial and residential HVAC/R equipment. Projects will be built using materials in the shop including various types of piping and they will build electrical projects from schematic diagrams. They are taught which type of fuels and refrigerants to use in certain environments. Trade related terminology and science is incorporated into this course to give students a full understanding of an installation or service project. They will end the freshman year program with an introduction to Sheet Metal to get them ready for their Sophomore year.

Sophomore Program

The Sophomore HVAC/R course is a 90 day course to provide students with basic skills for the fabrication of architectural sheet metal components and sheet metal components for HVAC/R, including insulation, sealing, and installation. Students will be instructed in Perpendicular Line Development, Parallel Line Development, Parallel Line Development, and Triangulation Development of sheet metal products fittings used in architectural and residential/commercial HVAC/R systems. Students will be trained in the safe operation of hand tools, hand held power tools, and other equipment to complete these tasks. Students will also have the opportunity to receive their OSHA Construction Trades ten hour safety training card and certificate. They will also receive training in soldering, Plasma Arc Cutting, and Gas Metal Arc Welding skills as they pertain to the sheet metalworking trade.

Sophomore Related Class 1

Applied Theory

The Sophomore Applied Theory course is a 90 day theory Sheet Metal Fabrication course to provide students with basic skills for the fabrication of architectural sheet metal components and sheet metal components for HVAC/R. Students will be instructed in Perpendicular Line Development, Parallel Line Development, and Radial Line Development of sheet metal products fittings used in architectural and residential/commercial HVAC/R systems. Students will be trained in the safe operation of hand tools, hand held power tools, and other equipment to complete these tasks. Students will also be instructed in the required math skills in the sheet metalworking trade. Plans, specifications, standards, air properties, distribution, installation of ductwork and components of the ductwork system will also be covered.


Sophomore Related Class 2

Technical Solutions

The GNBRVTHS HVAC/R Technical Solutions course is a comprehensive program designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to address various technical challenges in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) systems. Tailored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), this course focuses on practical solutions for enhancing HVAC/R efficiency, performance, and sustainability.
Throughout the program, participants delve into the fundamental principles of HVAC/R systems, gaining insights into heating and cooling technologies, ventilation strategies, and air quality management. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including equipment selection, system design, installation practices, and maintenance procedures.

Participants engage in case studies to deepen their understanding of HVAC/R concepts and apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios. They explore innovative technologies and emerging trends in the HVAC/R industry, such as energy-efficient equipment, smart controls, and renewable energy integration.

Additionally, the course emphasizes compliance with relevant codes, regulations, and industry standards to ensure safe and reliable HVAC/R operations. Participants learn about best practices for troubleshooting common issues, diagnosing problems, and implementing effective solutions to optimize system performance and minimize downtime. Overall, the MA DESE HVAC/R Technical Solutions course equips participants with the expertise and confidence to tackle complex HVAC/R challenges, enhance system performance, and contribute to sustainable building practices in Massachusetts and beyond.

Junior Program

The goals for 11th grade students are to further the development of the student’s mechanical skills and enhance their technical knowledge of the industry. Students will continue with more advanced tubing, electrical, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning projects, and Heat Pump Technology. Students will be introduced to the principles of thermodynamics, temperature pressure relationship, basic refrigeration cycle and basic electricity applied to refrigeration.

This course will provide students with the knowledge in refrigeration sealed systems; they will explore the major components of a refrigeration cycle such as the compressor, evaporator, condenser and metering device. Students will identify and learn the function of each component and how it applies to the refrigeration cycle. Students will also be introduced to residential heating and air conditioning for the first time in the program. This will consist of introduction to heat pumps and ductless mini-split air conditioning units. Students will gain knowledge of the safe and proper handling of refrigerants and will have the opportunity to test for the EPA Section 608 refrigerant recovery certification.

Junior Related 1

Refrigeration Concepts

HVAC/R theory class offers the conceptual foundation for understanding components affiliated with the refrigeration system. It provides the building blocks for troubleshooting mechanical equipment, interpreting and prioritizing system problems and evaluating operations. This class provides technical information to students that will define and explain how components work mechanically. In conclusion, it elaborates on the relationship between thermodynamics and refrigeration theory. EPA 608 testing will be done during this course.

Junior Related 2

Electrical Concepts

The AC/DC Theory & Equipment course is a 45 minute per day, 80 day course that will enable the student to develop an understanding of basic electrical theory and application of electrical design and load calculations. At the end of the course students are expected to be proficient in their understanding of magnetism, electromagnetism, principles & operation of DC generators and motors, plus an introductory understanding of alternating current and the correlating strands of the VTE framework for electricity. Also students are required to learn and follow OSHA safety standards for the construction industry.

Senior Program

This course will expand on students’ knowledge of low voltage controls, gas and oil heat, forced air and hydronic heating systems, blueprint reading and systems design. Electrical code as it applies to the HVAC/R industry will be reviewed as preparation for future licensure and apply it to their current projects. At this level of the HVAC/R program, students will work with architectural drawings of homes and design different types of heating and air conditioning systems. This will represent some of the engineering practices that go on in the HVAC/R industry. A focus on residential heating and air conditioning systems will be the main subject for this course. Forced hot air furnaces utilizing electric resistance heat will be covered, as well as furnaces burning natural gas, and oil. Different types of hydronic heating will be discussed, designed and installed in a shop setting. Natural gas and oil fired boilers will be installed and connected to baseboard, fan coil heaters and hydronic air handling units. Students will be introduced to oil burner code and prepare for future licensure as an oil burner technician. Students will be introduced to centrifugal chillers and cooling towers and how they apply to commercial air conditioning systems.The senior electrical program consists of students continuing to master the mechanical skills that they have already learned. The students will continue to apply these skills to industrial motor controls and automation as well as some commercial applications. The students will learn how to install, wire and troubleshoot electrical motor controls for industrial applications. The students will also work with programmable logic controllers, in both hardware and software. The program includes students working on community construction projects with the off campus construction program. This course is based upon the electrical 2023 Vocational Technical (VTE) Frameworks, and objectives contained within the six strands of the (VTE) Frameworks are covered within this course. This will prepare senior students for the post secondary schooling needed after graduation and steady employment. Assessments include grades for motor control projects, and observation of skill attainment, along with daily employability and performance skills.

Senior Related 1

Refrigeration Concepts II and Heating Concepts

The HVAC/R Science Course is a 90 day course that offers a solid foundation for a career as a refrigeration and air conditioning technician. Projects include estimates, finances, loans, cost averaging, charts and graphs for enthalpy criteria, wet bulb and dry bulb evaluation, refrigerant line sizing, filter drier sizing, evaporator and compressor comparison for selection, metering device evaluation, refrigerant charging amounts, oil tank capacities, air volume requirements and duct sizing and Manual J calculations. This course was developed to provide technical information necessary for a technician to be able to perform satisfactorily on the job and to complete the theory hours needed for the MA Refrigeration License Students can test for the R410a High Pressure Certification in this course.

Senior Related 2

Electrical Concepts II – Elective

The HVAC/R Electrical Concepts II – Elective course extends an overview of MA Electrical Code, and trade math for technicians entering the trade. Included in this course are motor efficiencies, calculating resistance, voltage and amperage, determining the seasonal energy efficiency ratio of a system. This elective program would be the most beneficial for students enrolled in co-op and/or students really interested in making HVAC/R a career choice.


  • OSHA 10- Hour Construction Safety and Health training certification

  • EPA 608-Universal Recovery Certification

  • EPA R-410a High Pressure Certification

  • Hot Works Certification

  • Reduction of in field hours to 2000 prior to being eligible for Massachusetts Refrigeration Technician License.

  • GNB Voc-Tech has been approved by the Department of Public Safety as an approved school for licensure.

  • 1 year towards Sheet Metal Apprenticeship


Career Opportunities

  • HVAC/R  Service Field Technician
  • HVAC/R  Installation Technician 
  • Sheet Metal Fabricator and Installer
  • Retail-Product or parts supply/distribution
  • Customer Service-HVAC/R
  • Manufacturer Technical and Service support
  • HVAC/R Sales Rep
  • Control Technician
  • Oil Burner Technician

Post-Secondary Education

The hours gained from the HVAC/R provide our students with the hours needed to take the Massachusetts Refrigeration Technician License exam after working 2000 hours in the trade as a Refrigeration Apprentice. For students wishing to further their value for their professional career, continuing on to post secondary education has its benefits. These options include but are not limited to:

  • 2-4 years in a approved Sheet Metal Apprenticeship
  • Associate degree programs offered by Technical Colleges
  • Other trade related license pathways that could benefit the students in their HVAC/R journey