How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Clay City Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Clay City IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Clay City IL HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC 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 amount of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Clay City IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Clay City IL, eventually returning 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 Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Clay City IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Clay City and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Clay City IL area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Clay City IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing 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 suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors 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 broader directory of graduates, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Clay City IL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Clay City IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Clay City IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Clay City IL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Clay City IL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Clay City IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Clay City Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Clay City, Illinois
Clay City is located in southeastern Clay County at 38°41′13″N 88°21′11″W / 38.68694°N 88.35306°W / 38.68694; -88.35306 (38.686883, -88.353121), about 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of the Little Wabash River. U.S. Route 50 passes through the southern side of the village, leading west 7 miles (11 km) to Flora and east 15 miles (24 km) to Olney. Louisville, the Clay County seat, is 14 miles (23 km) to the northwest.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,000 people, 436 households, and 262 families residing in the village. The population density was 561.0 people per square mile (216.9/km²). There were 486 housing units at an average density of 272.7 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.40% White, 0.20% Native American, 0.10% Asian, and 0.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.40% of the population.
There were 436 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.98.
HVAC Learning Clay City IL
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Learning. However, as we have covered in this article, you should choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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 Clay City IL.
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