How to Find the Right HVAC Program near Bridgeview Illinois
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Bridgeview IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Bridgeview IL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as 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 examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians 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.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, although some courses 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 training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Bridgeview IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Bridgeview IL, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Bridgeview IL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Bridgeview and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Bridgeview IL area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly 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 should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Bridgeview IL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bridgeview IL HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Bridgeview IL HVAC companies. 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 regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Bridgeview IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Bridgeview IL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bridgeview IL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Bridgeview IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Bridgeview Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Bridgeview is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) southwest of the Chicago Loop. As of the 2010 census, the village population was 16,446. Bridgeview is home to the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
The village has a roughly rectangular shape; its borders running north and south stagger between 8300 West and 6800 West, but can generally be defined as between Roberts Road and Harlem Avenue. The southern border of the town is 103rd Street between 76th Avenue and Harlem. The northern border is staggered between 6700 South on the west side of the rail tracks and 6900 South on the east side of the rail tracks.
Bridgeview borders the following communities: Bedford Park, Nottingham Park (unincorporated Cook County, often considered part of Chicago due to its 60638 ZIP code), Burbank, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Palos Hills, Hickory Hills and Justice.
How to Choose HVAC Training Classes Bridgeview IL
Finding the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Training Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, you should choose an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Bridgeview IL.
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