How to Choose HVAC Training Programs Bolingbrook IL

How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Bolingbrook Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Bolingbrook ILOnce you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Bolingbrook IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details 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 in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Contractor

Bolingbrook IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Bolingbrook IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned 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 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 examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians 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.

Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain 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 sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Bolingbrook IL homeThere are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Bolingbrook IL.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate 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 standard 4 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 right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Bolingbrook IL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Courses Online

Bolingbrook IL student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Bolingbrook IL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Bolingbrook and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Bolingbrook IL HVAC training schoolsOnce you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Bolingbrook IL area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Bolingbrook IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may 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 school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bolingbrook IL HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Bolingbrook IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bolingbrook IL HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bolingbrook IL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bolingbrook IL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Bolingbrook IL?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Bolingbrook Illinois area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Bolingbrook, Illinois

The village of Bolingbrook is a southwest suburb of Chicago in Will and DuPage counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2017 US Census, the population is 75,201[5]. It is the 17th largest incorporated place in Illinois and the state's 2nd largest village.

According to the 2010 census Bolingbrook has a total area of 24.257 square miles (62.83 km2), of which 24.05 square miles (62.29 km2) (or 99.15%) is land and 0.207 square miles (0.54 km2) (or 0.85%) is water.[7]

Interstate 55, locally the Stevenson Expressway, runs through the southern part of the village heading northeast toward Chicago and southwest toward Plainfield and Joliet. Interstate 355, also known as the Veterans Memorial Tollway (formerly the North-South Tollway), runs along the far east side of the village between New Lenox and Addison. Illinois Route 53, locally known as Bolingbrook Drive, runs north–south through the middle of the village.

How to Choose HVAC Training Programs Bolingbrook IL

Finding the right HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Training Programs. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC vocational 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 ample hands-on 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 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 options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Bolingbrook IL.

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