How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling College near Cicero Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Cicero IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Cicero IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training 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 minimum amount of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly 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 provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Cicero IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Cicero IL, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Cicero IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Cicero and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Cicero IL area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 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 technical schools in the Cicero IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Cicero IL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational 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 Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Cicero IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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 in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Cicero IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Cicero IL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees 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 students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cicero IL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Cicero IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Cicero Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Cicero (originally known as Hawthorne) is a suburb of Chicago and an incorporated town in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 83,891 at the 2010 census. As of 2013, the town had a total population of 84,103, making it the 11th largest municipality in Illinois. Cicero is named for the town of Cicero, New York, which in turn was named for Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator.
Originally, Cicero Township occupied six times its current territory. Weak political leadership and town services resulted in cities such as Oak Park and Berwyn voting to split off from Cicero, and other portions such as Austin were annexed into the city of Chicago.
By 1911, an aerodrome called the Cicero Flying Field had been established as the town's first aircraft facility of any type, located on a roughly square plot of land about 800 meters (1/2-mile) per side, on then-open ground at 41°51′19.03″N 87°44′56.5″W / 41.8552861°N 87.749028°W / 41.8552861; -87.749028 by the Aero Club of Illinois, founded on February 10, 1910. Famous pilots like Hans-Joachim Buddecke, Lincoln Beachey, Chance M. Vought and others flew from there at various times during the "pioneer era" of aviation in the United States shortly before the nation's involvement in World War I, before the field closed in mid-April 1916.
HVAC Training Courses Cicero IL
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Courses. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Cicero IL.
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