How to Pick the Best Heating and Cooling Training Class Near Lakes Alaska
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Lakes AK. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Lakes Ak.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, some degrees include 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 conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Lakes AK, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Lakes AK students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Lakes and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Lakes AK HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Certification Courses
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Lakes AK area and throughout the USA to choose from. That's why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Lakes AK area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lakes AK HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Lakes AK HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lakes AK HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Lakes AK home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakes AK, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lakes AK.