How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Sitka Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Sitka AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade 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 commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Sitka AK HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists 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.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Sitka AK.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even 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 air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Sitka AK, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Sitka AK students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Sitka and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Sitka AK area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Sitka AK area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Sitka AK HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Sitka AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sitka AK HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Sitka AK residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sitka AK, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Sitka AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Sitka Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The City and Borough of Sitka (Tlingit: Sheetʼká), formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk, or New Archangel under Russian rule (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 8,881.
In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 square miles (7,434 square kilometres) and a total area (including water area) of 4,811.4 square miles (12,461 square kilometres). Urban Sitka, the part usually thought of as the "city" of Sitka, is on the west side of Baranof Island.
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island," whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (here contracted to Shee).
HVAC Schools Sitka AK
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing 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 Sitka AK.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Alaska