How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling School near Hoonah Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Hoonah AK. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Hoonah AK HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Hoonah AK.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, many 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Hoonah AK, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Hoonah AK students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Hoonah and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of 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 HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Hoonah AK area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Hoonah AK area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent 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 may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Hoonah AK HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Hoonah AK HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Hoonah AK HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Hoonah AK home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoonah AK, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Hoonah AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Hoonah Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Hoonah (Xunaa in Tlingit) is a largely Tlingit community on Chichagof Island, located in Alaska's panhandle in the southeast region of the state. It is 30 miles (48 km) west of Juneau, across the Alaskan Inside Passage. Hoonah is the only first-class city on Chichagof Island, the 109th largest island in the world and the 5th largest island in the United States. At the 2010 census the population was 760, down from 860 at the 2000 census. In the summer the population can swell to over 1,300 depending on fishing, boating, hiking and hunting conditions. "Hoonah" became the official spelling in 1901, with establishment of the Hoonah branch of the United States Post Office.Xunaa means "protected from the North Wind" in the Tlingit language.
The clans comprising the Huna Tlingit originally settled what is now Glacier Bay National Park as well as Icy Strait, Cross Sound, and the outer coast north to Sea Otter Creek. Two catastrophic events forced the Tlingit from their homeland; rapid glacial advance in Glacier Bay and a landslide-induced tsunami in Lituya Bay along the outer coast. Tlingit oral tradition recounts these events as well as the clans' ultimate resettlement in Xunaa.
Sheldon Jackson established the first school house and teacher's residence in November 1881. The school was initially overseen by Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Styles of New York until their transfer to Sitka in 1882. The Reverend and Mrs. John McFarland assumed responsibility for the school in 1884, and by 1885 219 Tlingit students were enrolled: 69 boys, 76 girls and 74 adults. A territorial school and government school were built in 1923. In 1932 the government school was demolished and replaced by a Bureau of Indian Affairs school.
Top HVAC Technical Schools Hoonah AK
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Top HVAC Technical Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC 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 ample 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 explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. 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 don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Hoonah AK.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Alaska