How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Calumet City Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Calumet City IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
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 air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Calumet City IL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved 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. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Calumet City IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Calumet City IL, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Calumet City IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Calumet City and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Calumet City IL area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Calumet City IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Calumet City IL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Calumet City IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Calumet City IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Calumet City IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Calumet City IL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Calumet City IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Calumet City Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Calumet City, Illinois
Calumet City (commonly referred to locally as "Cal City") was founded in 1893 when the villages of Schrumville and Sobieski Park merged under the name of West Hammond, since it lies on the west side of the Illinois-Indiana line from Hammond, Indiana. In 1924, West Hammond officially became Calumet City after its citizens voted to change the name in 1923.
In addition to being bordered to the east by Hammond, it is also bordered by Burnham and Chicago to the north, Lansing to the south, and South Holland and Dolton to the west. It has a flag but no digital image of it.
A landmark and point of pride among Cal City residents is the pair of large water towers painted like the popular "Have a Nice Day" smiley faces. Located on Ring Road near River Oaks Mall, the other State Street near I 94
HVAC School Cost Calumet City IL
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC School Cost. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Calumet City IL.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Illinois
Business Results 1 - 10 of 965