How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Driggs Idaho
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Driggs ID. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians 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 every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Driggs ID HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following 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 may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Driggs ID.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Driggs ID, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for many Driggs ID students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Driggs and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Driggs ID area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Driggs ID area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Driggs ID HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Driggs ID HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area 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 working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Driggs ID HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Driggs ID home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Driggs ID, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Driggs ID?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Driggs Idaho area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Driggs is a city in Teton County, Idaho, United States. It is part of the Jackson, WY-ID Micropolitan Statistical Area, and is located in Teton Valley, the headwaters of the Teton River. The population was 1,660 at the 2010 census, up from 1,100 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Teton County.
The Teton Valley was discovered by John Colter in 1808, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–06). It became known as Pierre's Hole, and it hosted the well-attended 1832 Rendezvous, which was followed by the Battle of Pierre's Hole.
Driggs was founded in 1888 by Benjamin Woodbury Driggs, Jr. and Don Carlos Driggs, whose descendants later moved to Arizona and founded Western Savings and Loan where most live still, though some remain in Idaho. John Driggs, a descendant of Don Carlos Driggs, later became the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona in the 1970s. In 2007, National Geographic magazine listed Driggs as one of the 10 best outdoor recreation destinations in the U.S.
HVAC Certification Schools Driggs ID
Picking the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Certification Schools. 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 field. Other features to look for are sufficient practical 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 inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Driggs ID.
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