How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Athens Illinois
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Athens IL. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Athens IL HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved 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. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, 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 wish to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Athens IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as 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.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Athens IL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many 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 attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Athens IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Athens and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Athens IL area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Athens IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Athens IL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Athens IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Athens IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Athens IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens IL, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Athens IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Athens Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Athens /ˈeɪθənz/ AY-thənz is a city in Menard County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,726 at the 2000 census, and 1,778 at a 2009 estimate. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,726 people, 695 households, and 462 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,175.4 people per square mile (453.3/km²). There were 740 housing units at an average density of 504.0 per square mile (194.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.41% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.
There were 695 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.10.
Diploma in HVAC Athens IL
Selecting the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Diploma in HVAC. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit 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 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 aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Athens IL.
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