Family ties inspired recent Blinn graduate to earn associate degree in HVAC


A career in HVAC was always in Landry Smith’s blood.

“My dad had an HVAC company,” he said. “I’ve always been involved in it since I was young and I plan to do it until I’m old. I love to work with my hands and get stuff done. An office job was never going to be for me. I like to be out there and see new things every day.”

Though the Alto native was familiar with the field, Smith knew pursuing a formal degree would jumpstart his career and put him ahead of the game. After visiting with Blinn faculty and seeing the facilities at Texas A&M-RELLIS, he knew an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in HVAC would set him up for success.

“Education just puts you so much further. I came here thinking I knew a lot and I got humbled really quickly and I appreciate that experience,” he said. “Here you get to breakdown what you’re doing and really know how everything works. I feel like that understanding is very valuable.”

Blinn’s HVAC Program is one of several skilled trades AAS degrees the College offers that equips students with in-depth, hands-on training and valuable credentials to pursue high-wage, high-demand careers.

Former student Blane Ashorn, now a Blinn HVAC instructor, knows the value of the program firsthand.

“When a student completes the AAS degree in HVAC, they will have a year and a half of work experience,” Ashorn said. “That puts you ahead of everyone else, and with that knowledge you can go anywhere you want.”

Blinn’s AAS in HVAC provides students training in the fundamentals of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; safety; residential and commercial applications; and heat pumps; graduates also earn their Environmental Protection Agency recovery certification. The program follows the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum, a nationally recognized curriculum developed by construction CEOs, trade association officials, and academic leaders. As students work toward their AAS degree, they also earn their NCCER HVAC Level 1-4 credentials as well as Blinn’s Occupational Skills Award and Level 1 and 2 certificates.

In addition to the exceptional training Blinn’s program provides, students pursuing AAS degrees or workforce training are eligible to apply for Duddlesten Foundation scholarships to support their educational journey.

“This program takes students from knowing nothing to two internships where they get on-the-job training while they are in school,” said HVAC Instructor Richard Hobbs. “The possibilities are endless — technician, company owner, general manager, sales manager, service manager, installer — anybody who is willing to learn and work hard will always have a job in this industry.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn a median salary of $57,300 per year.

Courses for Blinn’s HVAC Program are offered at the RELLIS Agricultural and Workforce Education Complex located at Texas A&M-RELLIS in Bryan. This state-of-the-art, 38,000-square-foot facility provides students with innovative instruction and access to the latest equipment in their chosen profession.

“I really liked the atmosphere of College Station and Bryan. You get the college experience, but Blinn is very affordable, a great school, and a brand-new campus,” he said. “I also really liked Mr. Hobbs, the main instructor. Meeting him, everything clicked for me. He’s very engaging and he’s been in the field a very long time. Any questions you have, he can answer them for you.”

Now that he has completed Blinn’s program, Smith is excited to move back to his hometown and start building a name for himself with plans to eventually take over his family’s business after earning his contractor’s license. The way he sees it, HVAC is a skill in constant demand.

“This is something that AI and robots are not going to be able to do. It’s always going to be manual labor and I value that. It’s a field that’s always going to be there.” 

To learn more about Blinn’s HVAC AAS degree, visit

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Courtesy of Blinn College District