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Environmental Systems and Refrigeration Technology

The WVC Environmental Systems and Technology (ESRT) program prepares graduates for a wide variety of entry-level jobs such as service technicians, mechanics, maintenance personnel, application engineers, electronic temperature controls specialists, and environmental systems designers.

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Graduates will be prepared to apply for positions in agriculture storage facilities, office buildings, shopping malls, schools, industrial plants and many other facilities around the world.

The ESRT program combines theory classes with practical, hands-on lab work. Classes cover refrigeration principles, applied electricity, heating systems, air conditioning systems, control fundamentals, DDC and PLC controls, boiler systems, and basic welding. Additional coursework emphasizing energy efficiency includes efficient HVAC systems, energy load calculations, commissioning and TAB (Test, Adjust, and Balancing).

The second year of the ATS degree program is designed to allow students to work full-time while in the program by taking courses at night and short seminar courses offered on Thursday/Fridays and/or evenings. The final quarter of the program includes an internship and an independent capstone project in the area of the student's career aspirations. With permission of the program director, some on-the-job training internships may be substituted for lab work.

It is recommended, and highly advantageous, that students start the program at the beginning of the school year and take the core courses in the suggested sequence. Before entering the ESRT program, students are strongly advised to complete one year of high school algebra or its equivalent. Course work in computers, basic electricity/electronics and welding is also beneficial prior to entering the program. Documentation of computer literacy is required prior to entering the program.

To be eligible for the associate degree or a certificate, students must earn at least a cumulative 2.0 grade point average. Core program courses may have prerequisite requirements. English and mathematics courses require qualifying assessment scores or acceptable coursework in those subjects. See the course descriptions for details. 

Upon graduation, students are expected to have OSHA-10 HVAC safety card, the EPA 608 refrigerant handling universal license, the ICE or ESCO national competency certificate, the RETA CARO industrial refrigeration assistant operator certificate and a current first aid card with CPR.  Students who complete the ESRT ATS degree can earn electrical hours toward the Washington State Labor and Industry (06A) HVAC Specialty Electrical License.

For more information about careers related to this field, go to My Next Move or the Employment Security Department Web page (scroll through the alphabetical list by occupation, or type the name of an occupation into the search filter, such as HVACR mechanics/installer, electrical/electronic maintenance tech, electrical/electronic engineering techs controls installation/repair tech).  

Students who complete the ATS in Environmental Systems and Refrigeration Technology will have the skills and knowledge to:

  • Obtain a 608 refrigerant license for employment and a Washington State HVACR Specialty Electrical 06A License.
  • Work in the Refrigeration or HVAC industries as an entry level employee.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work on refrigeration control circuits
  • Troubleshoot an air conditioning and heat pump system.
  • Service commercial refrigeration equipment
  • Practice on the job safety precautions as it relates to refrigeration systems, including lock out tag out, fall prevention, and arc flash protection.
  • Become employed in the HVACR industries using skills and  techniques geared toward the refrigeration industry jobs
  • Intelligently discuss various type of HVACR systems during a job interviews
  • Obtain a RETA CARO entry-level license.

The ESRT two year ATS degree qualifies students to work in many various areas of the refrigeration industry including residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial as installers, operators, and maintenance personnel.