How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Bedford Park Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Bedford Park IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Bedford Park IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Bedford Park IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge 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 geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Bedford Park IL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, 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 school online is one possibility to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Bedford Park IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Bedford Park and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Bedford Park IL area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Bedford Park IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Bedford Park IL HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Bedford Park IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Bedford Park IL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Bedford Park IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure 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 Bedford Park 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 allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Bedford Park IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Bedford Park Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Bedford Park, Illinois
Bedford Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 580 at the 2010 census. Bedford Park consists of a small residential area and vast amounts of heavy industry sprawling to the east and a small amount to the west. A FedEx Ground facility is located in Bedford Park at 6833 West 75th Street.
According to the 2010 census, Bedford Park has a total area of 6.036 square miles (15.63 km2), of which 5.93 square miles (15.36 km2) (or 98.24%) is land and 0.106 square miles (0.27 km2) (or 1.76%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 574 people, 211 households, and 160 families residing in the village. The population density was 96.2 people per square mile (37.1/km²). There were 218 housing units at an average density of 36.5 per square mile (14.1/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 96.86% White, 1.05% African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.62% of the population.
HVAC Service Technician Schools Bedford Park IL
Choosing the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Service Technician Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person 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 training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Bedford Park IL.
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