How to Enroll In the Right HVAC School near Chicago Heights Illinois
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Chicago Heights IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs 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, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Chicago Heights IL HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required 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. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists 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 may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Chicago Heights IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, some 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money 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 Chicago Heights IL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require 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 remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Chicago Heights IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Chicago Heights and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Chicago Heights IL area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Chicago Heights IL area have attained 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 a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Chicago Heights IL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Chicago Heights IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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. Otherwise, ask a local Chicago Heights IL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Chicago Heights IL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn 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 reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Chicago Heights IL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Chicago Heights IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Chicago Heights Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Chicago Heights is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 30,276 at the 2010 census. In earlier years, Chicago Heights was nicknamed "The Crossroads of the Nation". Currently, it is nicknamed "The Heights".
According to the 2010 census, Chicago Heights has a total area of 10.083 square miles (26.11 km2), of which 10.07 square miles (26.08 km2) (or 99.87%) is land and 0.013 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 0.13%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 30,276 people, 9,587 households, and 7,077 families in the city. The population density was 3,003.6 people per square mile (1,160.0/km²). There were 11,060 housing units at an average density of 1,097.2 per square mile (423.8/km²). The racial makeup was 38.0% White, 41.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 16.6% some other race, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.9% of the population.
Air Conditioning Schools Chicago Heights IL
Choosing the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget 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 assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Chicago Heights IL.
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