How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Knik Fairview Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Knik Fairview AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Knik Fairview AK HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Knik Fairview AK.
- Certificate. Normally 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 provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 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 suited 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Knik Fairview AK, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Knik Fairview AK students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Knik Fairview and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Knik Fairview AK area and throughout the USA to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Knik Fairview AK area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 mean 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Knik Fairview AK HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational 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 considering have working relationships with local Knik Fairview AK HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Knik Fairview AK HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Knik Fairview AK home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger 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 students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Knik Fairview AK.