How to Pick the Right HVAC Degree Program near Auburn Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Auburn IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Auburn IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Auburn IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting 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 getting some experience in the field in Auburn IL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate 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 balance of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for many Auburn IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Auburn and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Auburn IL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Auburn IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it 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 suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Auburn IL HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together 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 HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Auburn IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Auburn IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Auburn IL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn IL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Auburn IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Auburn Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,317 people, 1,618 households, and 1,187 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,368.0 people per square mile (527.5/km²). There were 1,753 housing units at an average density of 555.5 per square mile (214.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.36% White, 0.30% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.
There were 1,618 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the city, the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.
School for Air Conditioning Auburn IL
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 Auburn IL.
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