How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Girdwood Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Girdwood AK. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Girdwood AK HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, 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 earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training 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 lesser period of time, often accomplished in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can 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 option offered near Girdwood AK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, some 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 conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Girdwood AK, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Girdwood AK students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Girdwood and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Girdwood AK area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Girdwood AK area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher 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 employ 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Girdwood AK HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Girdwood AK HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Girdwood AK HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Girdwood AK home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Girdwood AK, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Girdwood AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Girdwood Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Girdwood, Anchorage, Alaska
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of Downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
How Long is HVAC Training Girdwood AK
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How Long is HVAC Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are plenty of 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 speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices 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 Girdwood AK.
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