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CFCC’s HVAC program expands to meet industry demand


CFCC Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology Program Director Tom McMillon.

The heating and air conditioning industry is crucial in providing comfortable and healthy indoor environments for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. As people spend a significant portion of their time indoors, the quality of the air they breathe and the temperature they experience can greatly impact their overall well-being. The heating and air conditioning industry offers a diverse range of solutions to meet the unique needs of each building, including heating systems, air conditioning units, ventilation systems, and indoor air quality products.


The job outlook for HACR (Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration) technicians is promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , employment of HACR (aka HVAC) technicians is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The increasing demand for climate control systems in residential and commercial buildings and the need for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC solutions are some of the factors driving this growth. The rising demand is also anticipated to be fueled by new construction projects.

According to the New Hanover County planning website , multiple applications exist for new or expanding subdivisions, not including projects inside the Wilmington city limits or Carolina Beach. The increasing number of pending applications implies that the demand for workers across all stages of construction is surging in the local area.


In response to the growing need for technicians in the industry, CFCC is expanding its Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program to accommodate employer demand. As a result, the program now includes a spring start, eliminating the need for prospective students to wait until fall to begin their training.

CFCC’s North Campus training lab is expanding to add more workshop space. This development will allow for additional morning classes, providing working adults greater flexibility to pursue a new career through training.

The program will also be able to expand its commercial services as well. Some companies that specialize in commercial units do not offer on-the-job training so they are looking for trained new hires.

Until now, CFCC did not have the space for the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program to set up a separate workshop for commercial training. By reconfiguring program locations, CFCC can update an adjacent workshop to include commercial and residential units.


After earning his Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology diploma, CFCC alumni Tom McMillon spent many years working in the industry. When he learned of an opening at CFCC in the same program, he jumped at the chance to share his knowledge and experience with future technicians.

“I enjoy getting students with little or no skill in HVAC,” commented McMillon. “Watching them transform into very knowledgeable technicians is rewarding.”

McMillon, now serving as the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program director, works hard to provide the same quality of instruction that he received from his instructors. He also maintains CFCC’s reputation by supplying the industry with sought-after graduates.

“I am frequently contacted by employers looking to hire,” McMillon said. “Students in our program are much more advanced than technicians who have been learning on the job for 15 years. Some area employers will not hire someone if they do not have their diploma from CFCC.”

CFCC’s program balances hands-on training with theory. The diploma program covers air conditioning, furnaces, heat pumps, tools, and instruments. Diploma graduates earn 2,000 hours towards their contractor’s exam.

“Come to CFCC to get your diploma, and then your opportunity for advancement is greater when you get out into the workforce,” shares McMillon. “You’ll start out making more money, and you’ll move up faster.”

If you want to learn more about this rewarding career choice, visit cfcc.edu/hvac/.

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