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Associate of Science Degree
Alternative Energy Technology

The courses listed in the Associate of Science Degree are designed to prepare an individual for entry-level employment within the alternative energy industry as an integrator, designer, or as a maintenance or repair worker.  This Degree is designed to increase the number of students earning an Associate degree from Rio Hondo and to guide students along a path to transfer and promotion that is both efficient and sufficient for their continued academic success.

Please contact the Student Success Team for this program if you have any questions.

Sample Education Plan

This sample education plan for the 2021-2022 catalog year represents one possible pathway through the program. Each university (UC, CSU, private, and others) has their own transfer requirements; please see a counselor to create an education plan that is customized to meet your needs. Additional course descriptions may be found in the College Catalog (in pdf or flipbook format).
Select sample path/map:
CourseUnitsTypically Offered
1st Semester
ELEC 050 - Introduction to the Electrical IndustryM2.0
ELEC 050 - Introduction to the Electrical Industry (2.0 units)

Advisory: READ 043 or appropriate placement

This introductory course is for a general audience and for those contemplating a career in the powerline (electrical) industry. Students will become acquainted with the basic concepts of terminology and will receive hands-on experience with components and measuring equipment.

AET 120 - Introduction to Alternative Energy Technology (Same as ET 120)M3.0
AET 120 - Introduction to Alternative Energy Technology (Same as ET 120) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement;
Transfers to: CSU

This introductory-level course provides students with a working knowledge of present-day energy systems, including in-depth analysis of the design and installation of alternative energy systems. Topics will include solar electrical systems, wind electrical systems, solar water heating systems, wind mechanical systems, small hydro-electrical systems, geothermal energy, fuel cells, biomass, energy storage, and microgrids. Students will develop skills to construct an alternative energy system. This course is intended for students who are interested in a career in the alternative energy industry.

AET 121 - Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 121)M3.0
AET 121 - Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 121) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

In this introductory course students examine and implement the design and installation of solar photovoltaic power systems, including the installation of a working solar photovoltaic power system. Students learn how to perform solar site evaluations, electrical load calculations, solar system size calculations, and installation techniques for grid-tie and off-the-grid photovoltaic systems. The course is designed to prepare students for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) entry-level exam, and is intended for students who are contemplating a career in the solar photovoltaic energy industry.

Select one: MATH 062 / MATH 150 / FIN 101 (RHC GE 2)GE3.0†
Notes:
While the above course(s) are recommended, students may take any of the following courses to fulfill this requirement:  FIN 101, MATH 060, MATH 062, MATH 070, MATH 073, MATH 130/H, MATH 140, MATH 150, MATH 160, MATH 170, MATH 175, MATH 180, MATH 190/H, PSY 190.

MATH 062 - Pre-Statistics (5.0 units)

Prerequisite: MATH 053 or MATH 053B or appropriate placement
Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement

This course surveys a variety of mathematical topics to prepare students for college-level statistics. Topics include data analysis using ratios, rates and proportional reasoning, graphical and tabular displays of data, measures of central tendency and spread, computing probabilities, describing associations of two variables graphically, graphing equations of lines and linear models, and solving linear equations and inequalities. The course is for students in liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences majors. It should not be taken by students majoring in science, technology, engineering, math, or business.

MATH 150 - Survey of Mathematics (3.0 units)

Prerequisite: MATH 070 or MATH 070CD or MATH 073 or MATH 073B or appropriate placement
Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate assessment; READ 043 or appropriate assessment
Transfers to: CSU, UC

In this course students will learn to read and understand quantitative information, solve practical problems, and make sound decisions using numbers. Topics include consumer applications, logic, probability, statistics, algebra, and geometry. This course is for students who need a quantitative reasoning course for graduation or transfer.

FIN 101 - Introduction to Financial Planning (3.0 units)

Advisory: READ 043 or appropriate assessment
Prerequisite: MATH 050 or MATH 050D or MATH 053 or MATH 053B or appropriate assessment
Transfers to: UC, CSU

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of financial planning, and is designed to provide students with tools needed to achieve their personal financial goals. Students will learn to make informed decisions related to spending, saving, borrowing, and investing by applying quantitative reasoning concepts. Course topics include the financial planning process, budgeting, cash flow, debt consolidation, investing, and retirement planning.

RHC GE 3 - Physical EducationGE1.0

Select one: KINA or DANC activity course.
Students who have completed a Fire, Police, Wildland Fire, or Corrections Academy from an accredited institution are automatically waived from this requirement, as are students with a DD214 on file. Exemption may be granted to those students physically unable to complete this requirement. Exemption forms are available in Student Health & Psychological Services.

Total Semester Units:12.0† 
2nd Semester
AET 122 - Advanced Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 122) *M3.0
Notes:
*Subject to change based on course availabliity.

AET 122 - Advanced Photovoltaic Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 122) (3.0 units)

Advisory:AET 121 or ET 121; ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement;
Transfers to: CSU

This is the second course in the photovoltaic series in which students further examine and implement the design and installation of solar photovoltaic power systems. Students learn how to interpret the National Electrical Code (NEC) specifications concerning photovoltaic installations. Topics include code-compliant wiring of modules, inverters, charge controllers, batteries, grounding techniques, and related topics. Additional topics include the design and installation of large commercial photovoltaic systems. This course is intended for students who are contemplating a career in the solar photovoltaic energy industry.

AET 123 - Wind Energy Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 123)M3.0
AET 123 - Wind Energy Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 123) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement;
Transfers to: CSU

In this introductory course students examine and implement the design and installation of wind power systems, including the installation of a working wind generation power system. Students learn how to perform wind site evaluations, electrical load calculations, wind system size calculations, hydraulics fundamentals, basic aerodynamics, and installation techniques for wind power generation systems; in designing and installing wind power generation systems, students obtain skills for employment. This course is intended for students who are contemplating a career in the wind turbine power generation industry.

ENGL 101 - College Composition and ResearchGE3.5
ENGL 101 - College Composition and Research (3.5 units)

Prerequisite: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: UC, CSU

This composition course enables students to generate logical, coherent essays and reports necessary for academic and professional success. Students become proficient in research techniques, and learn critical reading and thinking skills through expository and persuasive reading selections before applying these skills to creating original essays and a final research paper. The lab component of the course is designed to assist students in improving and refining their writing and language skills: Students complete lab activities that enhance their ability to compose logical, well-supported arguments that exhibit grammatical fluency and correct citation styles. Students meet with composition instructors through individual conferences that address students’ specific writing concerns. This course is designed for students who wish to fulfill the general education requirement for Written Communication.

RHC GE 6 - Social and Behavioral ScienceGE3.0

Note: All honors courses have a prerequisite.

Select one:
AJ 101
ANTH 102, 102H, 103, 104, 110, 115, 125;
CD 106, 208;
CHST 101, 146, 148, 148H, 150;
ECON 101, 101H, 102, 102H, 106, 135;
EGSS 110, 120, 130;
GEOG 102, 103;
HIST 101, 102, 122, 131, 143, 143H, 144, 144H, 156, 157, 158, 159, 159H, 167, 170;
HUM 110, 111, 125, 125H, 130;
KIN 170, 190, 195
MSCM 128;
PHIL 128, 128H, 135;
POLS 110, 110H, 115, 125, 128, 128H, 130, 135,140,150;
PSY 101, 101H, 112, 114, 170, 180, 200;
SOC 101, 101H, 102, 105, 110, 114, 116, 120, 127, 130, 148, 148H;
SPCH 150

RHC GE 7b - HumanitiesGE3.0†

Notes:
All honors courses have a prerequisite.
† some classes may have higher units. 

Select one:
ASL 101, 124, 201, 202;
CHIN 101, 102;
CHST 101, 146, 148, 148H, 150;
EGSS 130;
ENGL 126, 131;
FR 101, 102, 201, 202;
HIST 101, 102, 122, 131, 143, 143H, 144, 144H, 156, 157, 158, 159, 159H, 167, 170;
HUM 110, 111, 125, 125H, 130, 140;
JAPN 101, 102;
LATN 101, 102;
LIT 102, 102H, 112A, 112AH, 112B, 112BH, 114, 114H, 117, 117H, 130, 130H,140, 140H, 141, 142, 142H, 144A, 144B, 145, 145H, 146A, 146AH, 146B, 146BH, 147, 147H, 148, 149;
MSCM 128;
PHIL 101, 101H, 120, 124, 126, 128, 128H, 135, 140;
POLS 128, 128H, 150;
SOC 148, 148H;
SPAN 101, 101S, 102, 102S, 201, 201H, 202;
SPCH 130, 132;

Total Semester Units:15.5† 
Summer 1
GIS 120 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis (CSU GE 8B)M4.0
GIS 120 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis (4.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement; CIT 101
Prerequisite:MATH 070 or MATH 070CD or appropriate placement
Transfers to: UC (*credit limit), CSU
(*Students will receive credit for only one of the following courses: GIS 120 or GIS 220)

This course introduces fundamental concepts of geographic information and spatial analysis. Using industry standard geospatial application tools including geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and small unmanned aerial vehicle (sUAVs), students perform spatial analysis in various disciplines including but not limited to business, public safety, health, politics, civil engineering, and environmental, social, biological and geological sciences. Students learn how to organize geospatial data; visualize spatial patterns by aggregating numbers by areas, analyzing ratios and proportions, generating scatterplots, qualifying volumes and areas, and performing map algebra; and interpret correlations or suitable locations based on provided or researched criteria.

Total Semester Units:4.0 
3rd Semester
TCED 054 - OSHA Workplace Safety IIM4.0
TCED 054 - OSHA Workplace Safety II (4.0 units)

Advisory: READ 043 or appropriate placement

This course is for the individual who needs an intermediate-level overview and/or the number of hours required for certification of both the California and Federal OSHA Safety Regulations for the General Industry and Construction Workplace. The course will cover a detailed overview of the rules and regulations, fire protection and prevention, material handling/storage and disposal, hand and power tools, welding and cutting, electrical safety, fall protection, scaffolds, excavations, concrete and masonry construction, steel erection, demolition, cranes/hoists/elevators and conveyors, lockout/tagout procedures, industrial hygiene, and emergency action plans. Powered industrial trucks will also be covered during the course, meeting the requirement for OSHA Standard 1910.178. Upon completion of this course (as well as passing the final exam and the powered industrial trucks operator safety training), the student will receive a 30-hour OSHA Training Certificate of Completion, which is good for life, and a powered industrial truck Certified Operator Card, which is good for 3 years.

AET 124 - Advanced Wind Energy Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 124)M3.0
AET 124 - Advanced Wind Energy Systems Design and Installation (Same as ET 124) (3.0 units)

Advisory:AET 123 or ET 123; ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

This is the second course in the wind energy series in which students further examine and implement the design and installation of wind power systems. Students learn how to interpret the National Electrical Code (NEC) specifications concerning wind power installations. Topics include code-compliant wiring of modules, inverters, charge controllers, grounding techniques, and related topics. Additional topics include wind site evaluations, electrical load calculations, wind system size calculations, hydraulic fundamentals, basic aerodynamics, and installation techniques for large wind power generation systems. This course is intended for students who are contemplating a career in the wind turbine power generation industry.

ARCH 110 - Construction Document Reading and EstimatingM3.0
ARCH 110 - Construction Document Reading and Estimating (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement; MATH 033 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

This course is designed for architecture students as well as apprentices and employees in all areas of the construction industry, and covers residential, light commercial, and industrial building construction. The course introduces the use of prints, construction documents, and the theory of construction estimating as used in the building industry. Principles of reading working drawings and plans; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) specifications; details and elevations; and electrical specifications are included, as are materials estimating, and estimating rules, tables, and procedures.

RHC GE 3 - Physical EducationGE1.0

Select one: KINA or DANC activity course.
Students who have completed a Fire, Police, Wildland Fire, or Corrections Academy from an accredited institution are automatically waived from this requirement, as are students with a DD214 on file. Exemption may be granted to those students physically unable to complete this requirement. Exemption forms are available in Student Health & Psychological Services.

RHC GE 5 - Natural Science with LabGE4.0

Note: All honors courses have a prerequisite.

Select one Natural Science with Lab:
ANTH 101, 101H & 101L;
ASTR 110, 110H & 112;
BIOL 101, 105 & 105L, 111 & 111L, 112, 120 & 120L;
BIOT 100;
CHEM 110, 120, 130;
GEOG 101 & 101L;
GEOL 150 & 151, 152 & 152L;
PHY 120, 150, 160, 211, 212, 213

Total Semester Units:15.0 
4th Semester
AET 280 - Green Building Design Principles (Same as ET 280)M3.0
AET 280 - Green Building Design Principles (Same as ET 280) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

This course is designed to provide students working in or seeking employment in the green building field, with an overview of the green building industry and its components. Specifically, this course assists students in preparing for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) examination, which is the most recognized professional accreditation for green building in the nation. Emphasis is placed on the six categories of design that green buildings must address for LEED certification: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Each of these categories are studied, with a focus on the significance of each particular credit.

Select one: AET 181 / AET 182 M3.0
AET 181 - Home Energy Management and Auditing (Same as ET 181) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

This course is designed to provide students working in or seeking employment in the green energy field, with an overview of home energy management and auditing. Specifically, the course assists students in preparing a comprehensive home energy audit and energy management program. Emphasis is placed on the following topics: appliances, insulation, designing/remodeling, electricity, landscaping, lighting, space heating and cooling, water heating, doors/windows/skylights, and home energy audits.

AET 182 - Industrial Energy Management and Auditing (Same as ET 182) (3.0 units)

Advisory: ENGL 035 or ENLA 100 or appropriate placement; READ 043 or appropriate placement
Transfers to: CSU

This course is designed to provide students working in or seeking employment in the green energy field, with an overview of industrial energy management and auditing. Specifically, this course assists students in preparing a comprehensive energy audit and energy management program. Emphasis is placed on the following topics: types of energy audits, energy management and cost, benchmarking, energy performance, energy use requirements, maximizing system efficiencies, optimizing energy input requirements, fuel and energy substitution, and energy audit instruments.

RHC GE 4 - American InstitutionsGE3.0

Note: All honors courses have a prerequisite.

Select one:
POLS 110, 110H;
HIST 143, 143H, 144, 144H, 156, 157, 158, 159, 159H, 170

RHC GE 7a - Fine ArtsGE3.0

Note: All honors courses have a prerequisite.

Select one:
ART 101, 104, 105, 105H, 106, 106H, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 113, 115, 120, 130, 135, 140;
DANC 179, 179H, 199, 199H;
GDSN 110:
MUS 101, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135, 136, 141;
MUST 151;
PHTO 110, 130;
THTR 101, 105, 105H, 110

ElectiveEL2.0

Select any course that is numbered 40 or above. Please see a counselor to discuss course options.

Total Semester Units:14.0 
Total Units for Alternative Energy Technology AS program 60.5† 
Notes:
AP exams and courses taken outside of Rio Hondo College may fulfill general education and/or major requirements. Please check with a counselor.
Legend:
Some classes may have higher units
M Major course; course may also meet a general education requirement
GEGeneral Education course
ELElective Course
Advising Sheet:
Click or tap here to open the program's advising sheet.

Program Learning Outcomes

1

The skills developed during classes will enhance students’ ability to complete the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and to become a specialist in the Solar Photovoltaic industry.


2

The Degree will prepare students for transfer and/ or entry-level employment as an alternative energy technician within the renewable energy/green technology field.


3

Students will have the knowledge and skills necessary to install residential and commercial solar and wind power systems.


4

Students will know and understand green building design principles and also have the skills to successfully perform residential and commercial/industrial energy audits.


About RHC

Rio Hondo College, serving the communities of El Monte, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, and Whittier for over 50 years.

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Rio Hondo College
3600 Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA 90601

Phone: (562) 692-0921
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