How to Find the Best HVAC Training Class Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Knik Fairview AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Knik Fairview Ak.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Knik Fairview AK, later returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical 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 on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Knik Fairview AK students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Knik Fairview and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Knik Fairview AK HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Knik Fairview AK area and across the Country to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Knik Fairview AK area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course 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 complete the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Knik Fairview AK HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Knik Fairview AK HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Knik Fairview AK HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Knik Fairview AK residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Knik Fairview AK.