How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Degree Program near Cordova Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Cordova AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Cordova AK HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Cordova AK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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 learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Cordova AK, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Cordova AK students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Cordova and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Cordova AK area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Cordova AK area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Cordova AK HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Cordova AK HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Cordova AK HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Cordova AK home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AK, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Cordova AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Cordova Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Cordova (/kɔːrˈdoʊvə, ˈkɔːrdəvə/) is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.
In 1790 the inlet in front of the current Cordova townsite was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo, after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. The town of Cordova was named after it, although the inlet itself was later renamed the Orca Inlet. Cordova proper was founded as a result of the discovery of high-grade copper ore at Kennecott, north of Cordova. A group of surveyors from Valdez laid out a town site and Michael James Heney purchased half the land for the terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway after determining that the neighboring town of Katalla was a poor harbor. Heney and his crew held a brief ceremony to organize the town on March 26, 1906. A week later crews arrived to begin work on the railroad. The first lots in the new town site, which make up the heart of present-day Cordova, were sold at auction in May 1908. As the railroad grew, so did the town. Eventually schools, businesses, a hospital, and utilities were established. After the railroad was completed Cordova became the transportation hub for the ore coming out of Kennecott. In the years 1911 to 1938, more than 200 million tons of copper ore was transported through Cordova.
The area around Cordova was historically home to the Eyak, with a population of Chugach to the west, and occasional visits from Ahtna and Tlingit people for trade or battle. The last full-blooded Eyak Marie Smith Jones died in 2008, but the native traditions and lifestyle still has an influence on the local culture. Cordova was also once the home of a booming razor clam industry, and between 1916 and the late 1950s it was known as the "Razor Clam Capital of the World". Commercial harvest in the area was as much as 3.5 million pounds. Returns began declining in the late 1950s, presumably due to overharvesting and a large die-off in 1958. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake effectively and completely obliterated the industry; in some areas, the ground was thrust up by as much as six feet, exposing the already depleted clam beds. There has been no commercial harvest in the area since 1988 with the exception of a brief harvest in 1993.
HVAC Training Online Cordova AK
Picking the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Online. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person 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. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 professional in Cordova AK.
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