How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Hickam Afb Hawaii
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Hickam Afb HI. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry 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 commonly required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Hickam Afb HI HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be received 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 exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in just 6 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 might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Hickam Afb HI.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities 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. Generally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Hickam Afb HI, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Hickam Afb HI students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Hickam Afb and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Hickam Afb HI area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Hickam Afb HI area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Hickam Afb HI HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical 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 comparing have referring partnerships with local Hickam Afb HI HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Hickam Afb HI HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Hickam Afb HI home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hickam Afb HI, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows 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 Hickam Afb HI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Hickam Afb Hawaii area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Hickam Air Force Base
Hickam Air Force Base is a United States Air Force installation, named in honor of aviation pioneer Lieutenant Colonel Horace Meek Hickam. The base merged with the Naval Station Pearl Harbor to become part of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam. The base neighbors Honolulu International Airport and currently shares runways with the airport for its activities and purposes.
Hickam is home to the 15th Wing (15 WG) and 67 partner units including Headquarters of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Hawaii Air National Guard and the 154th Wing (154 WG) of the Hawaii Air National Guard. The Air Mobility Command's 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing (515 AMOW) provides tactical and strategic airlift within the Pacific region.
The 15th Wing is composed of four groups each with specific functions. The 15th Operations Group (15 OG) controls all flying and airfield operations. The 15th Maintenance Group (15 MXG) performs aircraft and aircraft ground equipment maintenance. The 15th Mission Support Group (15 MSG) has a wide range of responsibilities but a few of its functions are Security, Civil Engineering, Communications, Personnel Management, Logistics, Services and Contracting support. The 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) provides medical and dental care.
HVAC Online Courses Hickam Afb HI
Selecting the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Online Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Hickam Afb HI.
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