How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Augusta Illinois
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Augusta IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Augusta IL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. 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 proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Augusta IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 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 suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Augusta IL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Augusta IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Augusta and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Augusta IL area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Augusta IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct 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 list of alumni, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Augusta IL HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Augusta IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Augusta IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Augusta IL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Augusta IL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check 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 Augusta IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Augusta Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Augusta is located in southeastern Hancock County at 40°13′51″N 90°57′3″W / 40.23083°N 90.95083°W / 40.23083; -90.95083 (40.230946, -90.950741).Illinois Route 61 passes through the village, leaving to the west as Main Street and to the north as Center Street; Bowen is 6 miles (10 km) to the west, and Plymouth is 5 miles (8 km) to the north. Augusta's Main Street continues east from the center of town as Illinois Route 101, leading 3 miles (5 km) to Weinberg-King State Park and 15 miles (24 km) to Littleton.
On September 18, 1858, soon-to-be President Abraham Lincoln visited Augusta, where he gave a speech and stayed at the home of Elder James Stark. Previously, Lincoln's opponent in the historic Lincoln–Douglas debates, Stephen A. Douglas, had spoken in Augusta. In 1864, Congressman James Garfield (the future president) spoke in Augusta on behalf of Lincoln. Other notable visitors include William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt in the fall of 1900. Only Roosevelt gave a short speech on his trip through Augusta during the campaign.
As of the census of 2000, there were 657 people, 296 households, and 179 families residing in the village. The population density was 921.1 people per square mile (357.3/km²). There were 330 housing units at an average density of 462.7 per square mile (179.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.70% White, and 0.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.
Air Conditioning Installation Course Augusta IL
Finding the right HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Installation Course. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask 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 filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Augusta IL.
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