Linn State Technical College's hvacr department and Delaware Technical and Community College's hvacr department are the first schools in the country to receive national accreditation through the Partnership for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) program.

Accreditation from PAHRA certifies that the hvacr programs at these colleges have exceeded industry standards in its instruction, curriculum, student, faculty and facility standards set forth by industry in areas of residential air conditioning and heating, light commercial air conditioning and heating, and commercial refrigeration.

"It's a great thing for both our students and the industry," said Bill Matthews, Linn State HVAC department chair. "The students know they are getting the highest quality education available. And the industry knows we're doing things right here at Linn State."

"This was not an easy feat," said Leslie Sandler, director of Education for the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). "The standards set by professionals from within the industry are very high. PAHRA raised the bar for HVACR programs to achieve excellence, and these schools has proven they are up to the challenge." Sandler also serves as executive director of the PAHRA program.

PAHRA is the only hvacr accreditation program that is validated by representatives from each major hvacr trade association and is available to all training programs, whether they are secondary, post secondary, public or private. It was created for the purpose of establishing national educational standards for accrediting hvacr programs.

To become accredited, a training school must first evaluate its own strengths and weaknesses as compared to industry standards and then submit its findings in a self-study report. A survey team then conducts an on-site visit to corroborate the self-study report.

Partnerships in PAHRA include the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Gas Appliance Manufacturing Association (GAMA), the North American Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW), the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) and the Council of Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators (CARE).