HOME >> ALASKA >> FAIRBANKS >> HVAC COURSES


Request Free Info on HVAC Training Programs Fairbanks AK 99701

How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certificate Program Near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks Alaska commercial hvac contractor repairing furnacesNow that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Fairbanks AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

Fairbanks Alaska residential air conditioning condensers

There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Fairbanks Ak.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Fairbanks AK, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Courses Online

Fairbanks Alaska central heating registerChoosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Fairbanks AK students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Fairbanks and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.

HVAC Certification and Licensing

HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Fairbanks AK HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

Questions to Ask Heating and Cooling Certification Classes

Fairbanks Alaska hvac contractor working on water heater

As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Fairbanks AK area and across the USA to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fairbanks AK area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fairbanks AK HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Fairbanks AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbanks AK HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fairbanks AK residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Fairbanks HVAC Training Courses

Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate

Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Fairbanks AK.


 

FAIRBANKS HVAC CLASSES | MAIN | FAIRBANKS HVAC PROGRAMS