How to Choose the Right HVAC School near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Anchorage AK. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Anchorage AK HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant 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 summary of each credential offered near Anchorage AK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid 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. Generally requiring two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Anchorage AK, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Anchorage AK students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Anchorage and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools 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 schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers 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 some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Anchorage AK area have acquired 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is 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 obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Anchorage AK HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Anchorage AK HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anchorage AK HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Anchorage AK residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Anchorage AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Anchorage Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located on the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 291,538 residents in 2018, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 399,148 in 2018, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles (4,420 km2) of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, which is 1,212 square miles (3,140 km2) in area.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Training for HVAC Technician Anchorage AK
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Training for HVAC Technician. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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 whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Anchorage AK.
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