Refrigeration Essentials

A student doing hands-on work

Refrigeration Essentials

Technical Diploma

14 Credits | Less than 1 Year


Career Cluster: Architecture and Construction

The Northwood Tech HVAC/R program and pathway programs operate out of a state-of-the-art facility on our Superior campus. Through partnerships with Trane USA, Snap-On Tools, and the National Coalition of Certification Centers, Northwood Tech trains students to work with light commercial and residential refrigeration and air conditioning systems. As a graduate, you can leave with credentials in multiple National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) certifications and EPA Section 608 Technician Certification.

Program Overview

The Refrigeration Essentials program will allow students to complete coursework in the fundamentals of air conditioning, refrigeration, and basic mechanical systems. Full-time students will be able to complete this short-term technical diploma in one semester. Students will be prepared to test for the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification and NC3 Certifications. The certifications allow graduates of the program to perform installation and services on refrigeration and air conditioning systems with the oversight of an HVAC Technician.

Program Outcomes

Refrigeration Essentials graduates will be able to:

  • Perform limited service on refrigeration and air conditioning systems
  • Perform limited installation on refrigeration and air conditioning systems
  • Demonstrate ability to solder, braze and flare copper piping
  • Demonstrate ability to troubleshoot electrical systems on refrigeration and air conditioning systems
HVACR students working in WITC's state-of-the-art facilities

Northwood Tech's state-of-the-art facilities were completed in spring of 2017 under the guidance of Trane USA, Snap-On Tools and the National Coalition of Certification Centers. The facility provides multiple work stations with individual power and gas supplies.

HVACR students working in Northwood Tech's state-of-the-art facilities

State-of-the-art facilities.

Two students doing hands-on work in the lab

Hands-on learning.

Northwood Tech's  leading instructors

Industry-leading core instructors.


Refrigeration Essentials is available at the Superior campus. Foundational skills and principles learned in this program prepare you to work on small-scale air conditioning systems and refrigeration systems.

Career Pathways

As a student, you can build upon your skills and continue in the HVAC Installation Technician or HVAC/R technical diploma programs. 

Industry Certifications

This program will prepare you to earn the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification and an NC3 Certification. NC3 certification exams administered
include: Building Performance Instruments (BPI) - Leak Detection, BPI - Indoor Air Quality, Residential – Air Flow, Residential – Refrigeration Diagnostics, and 575 Multi-Meter Certification.

Experienced Instructors

Core instructors for this program come with a diverse background in the HVAC/R trade with a combined experience of over 65 years. 

Required Courses

You will learn the fundamentals of air conditioning, basic mechanics, refrigeration and AC/DC.

Explore the Required Courses

Featured Refrigeration Essentials Courses

| 2 CR
Topics covered include air conditioning principles and terms, physical principles of air movement and humidity, methods of conditioning air for comfort and health, the proper use of psychrometers, dry bulb thermometers, hygrometers, pitot tubes, recorders, manometers and barometers, and the reading and interpretation of psychrometric charts and scales. PREREQUISITE: Admission to HVAC/R Plan, Refrigeration Essentials Plan, or HVAC Installation Technician Plan
| 3 CR
This course is designed to introduce the learner to the basic fundamental skills necessary to work in the HVAC/R Industry. Instruction will be given in learning the various types of piping and tubing used in air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration; types of fittings, bending, brazing, soft soldering tubing, black iron pipe work, using hand tools, and the recognition and practice of safety procedures while working on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. PREREQUISITE: Admission to HVAC/R Plan, Refrigeration Essentials Plan, or HVAC Installation Technician Plan.
| 3 CR
Topics include refrigeration principles and terms, thermodynamic processes, refrigerants, vapor compression cycles, mechanical refrigeration system components, use of electrical controls, refrigeration applications, and refrigeration tools and materials. PREREQUISITE: Admission to HVAC/R Plan, Refrigeration Essentials Plan, or HVAC Installation Technician Plan

Refrigeration Essentials is Part of a Career Pathway

As a Refrigeration Essentials student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

This is the program you're looking at.

Technical Diploma
14 Credits/Less Than 1 Year
Potential Careers
Service Technician, Refrigeration Technician
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Advance your skills. 

Technical Diploma
27 Credits / 1 Year Full Time
Potential Careers
HVAC Installer, HVAC Mechanic, Service Technician, Systems Mechanic
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Continue your education to earn a two-year technical diploma. 

Technical Diploma
54 Credits / 2 Years Full Time
Potential Careers
Residential HVAC/R Technician, Commercial HVAC/R Technician, Industrial HVAC/R Technician, Mechanical Contractor HVAC/R Technician, Facilities HVAC/R Technician, Wholesale Service Representative, Commercial Refrigeration Technician
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Earn a bachelor's degree through Northwood Tech's transfer opportunities. 

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has an easy admission process that can be completed in one visit. Please see the details under the "Requirements and Application" section to get started.

Requirements and Application

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the costs that you may incur while attending Northwood Technical College.

Learn More About Cost of Attendance

Estimated Total Program Tuition 2024-25*

Refrigeration Essentials

14 Credits | Less than 1 Year


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Refrigeration Essentials Program

Upon completion of the program, you will earn a Refrigeration Essentials technical diploma. 

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Transfer Center

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college to earn your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Center


Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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National Coalition of Certification Center

NC3 logo

The National Coalition of Certification Centers is a value-driven organization and the future model for Career and Technical Education, creating highly-skilled, job-ready professionals through a growing network of educational partners and global industry leaders.


Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Nicole Messicci

Admissions Advisor



Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor



New Richmond Admissions Contact

Sherry Rehnelt

Admissions Advisor



Superior Admissions Contact

Anna Kalin

Admissions Advisor



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