Choose the Right HVAC Trade School
If you are interested in a career in Heating and Cooling, then it is important to choose the right HVAC vocational trade school. But just how do you choose the right technical school for your career goals when there are so many to choose from? One of the most important factors is to do your due diligence and make sure that the school you ultimately choose is reputable and accredited. But what other factors should you weigh before selecting and enrolling in the job training program that is right for you? Some considerations are the location of the campus and its facilities, the retention and graduation rate, and of course the cost or tuition for the course of study. So before you take the first step towards a brand new career as an HVAC technician, let’s look in more detail at the process for selecting the best vocational training to achieve that goal.
HVAC Vocational School Location
Your first decision is do you want to commute from your home and attend a local school, or will you be willing to relocate? You may find that the best HVAC school available is located outside of your area, possibly out of state. So if you are considering moving, be sure to visit the area first to make sure that you will be happy living there while completing your studies. Since you will be there for a prolonged period of time, take into consideration such things as the climate, local atmosphere and job market if you need to work while in school. Keep in mind also that some tech schools have excellent job placement programs in their local communities. Remaining and living where you study may be a possibility if you receive a job offer after graduation.
HVAC Technical School Facilities
The facilities of your technical school will be an important part of your education, so be sure to visit the campus to view the classrooms and workshops in person. The equipment and tools will be important in your training, so ask to see what you will be using during your training. If possible, contact some local HVAC companies that you may want to work for after graduation and ask them what equipment they use so that you can confirm that your school has it. Also make sure that it is up to date and the newest models so that you can be properly trained. Class size can also be an important factor if you want to make sure that you will be given plenty of individualized attention from instructors. Stop by a class in session and ask students if they feel they are being given enough one on one instruction.
HVAC School Licensing and Accreditation
It is very important that you confirm that your HVAC vocational school is both licensed and accredited. Licensing for schools is controlled by state agencies, such as the Department of Education. If necessary, ask your prospective school which agency is responsible for issuing its licensing, and then check with that agency to confirm that the licensing is in order. Reputable schools should also be accredited. Accreditation is usually given by professional trade associations or organizations, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology for example. It attests to a standard of quality to ensure that the school and curriculum meet certain minimum standards. If the school you are considering is not accredited, it may be an indication that the training provided is not adequate or lacking in some area. In addition to making sure that you are trained properly, there are two more reasons to ensure that your vocational school is accredited. First, if you are in need of financial aid, it can be difficult to qualify for if the school you are attending is not accredited. Secondly, any prospective employers that you are interested in working for may not be willing to hire someone who has been trained at a non-accredited school. It may be a good idea to contact some of those employers in advance of enrolling to find out which accreditations they hold in the highest esteem.
HVAC Vocational Program Retention Rate
Before starting your new vocational training program, it is important to find out how many students actually complete it and receive a diploma or certification. If the program has a high dropout rate or a low retention or graduation rate, it may mean that many of the students were dissatisfied with the course of study. Also, how many graduating students were able to find jobs as HVAC technicians and what were their average starting salaries? If the school’s job placement rate or average starting salary for their students is low it could be an indication that their training is not valued in the job market. One way a tech school can help their students gain both experience and contacts in the field is to offer internship programs with local businesses. These programs can also help graduates find positions of employment, often with the same company they interned with. This is part of a total success model that provides both training and job opportunities, so find out if it is offered as part of your curriculum as well.
HVAC Tech School Tuition
You can find the best HVAC tech school based on the due diligence steps outlined so far, but if you can’t afford the tuition and other costs associated with the program, it has all been for naught. So be sure to come up with a total budget for your education before starting the process. Be sure to find out if there any additional expenses to the tuition that will be incurred, such as for books, tools or incidental fees. Find out if there are any reinstatement fees if you have to temporarily drop out of the program due to sickness or injury. If financial aid or a student loan is part of your budgeting plan, be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available. If you do apply for a student loan, be sure that you read and understand the loan documents before signing them. And you may want to consider applying for a loan through the Federal Government as it may have better terms than is offered by the school.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certification
The biggest challenge you will face is to begin your career as an HVAC technician is deciding which vocational school to attend. As we have discussed, there are several factors that need to be weighed before enrolling in the trade or technical school of your choice. But perhaps the best way to make your final decision is to visit the schools, talk with the students and faculty, and sit in on some of the classes. But however you make your final selection, make sure that the school you choose offers the right education and training for your long term goals, either in your home town or wherever you decide to begin your career.