Online HVAC School Colfax IL

How to Choose the Right HVAC School near Colfax Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Colfax ILOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Colfax IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Tech

Colfax IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Colfax IL HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes

radiator heater in Colfax IL homeThere are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Colfax IL.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Colfax IL, later returning to acquire 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 Online Schools

Colfax IL student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide 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 alternative may be a more practical solution for some Colfax IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Colfax and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous 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, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses

Questions to ask Colfax IL HVAC training schoolsAfter you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Colfax IL area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical schools in the Colfax IL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Colfax IL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Colfax IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already 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 Colfax IL HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Colfax IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Colfax IL, check that the programs 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 because of work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Colfax IL?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Colfax Illinois area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Colfax, Illinois

Colfax was laid out on March 22, 1880 by James E. Wood (22 October 1818 – October 1908).[5] Anderson was born in Indiana and had come to McLean County about 1855 as State Missionary for the Christian Church. He stayed and became a farmer, a banker, and a lifelong promoter of Colfax. To locals, Anderson was affectionately known as “Uncle Billy.”[6] The northeastern townships of the county were among the last to be served by railroads. After many false starts the Clinton, Bloomington, and Northwestern Railroad began making its way westward from Kankakee, Illinois. It was aided by contributions in cash and land for the right-of-way by many local farmers. Cropsey, Anchor, and Cooksville were all laid out at the same time as Colfax. The first train arrived in Colfax on 4 July 1880. For two years the track extended only from Kankakee to Colfax and a turntable was installed to send the trains back eastwards. Eventually the tracks were completed to Bloomington. The Railroad soon became part of the Illinois Central system.[7] Colfax is one of several communities in the United States named for the Schuyler Colfax: the U.S Speaker of the House of Representatives during the terms of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Colfax also served as Ulysses S. Grant's Vice President.[8] Others communities include Colfax, California; Colfax, Indiana; Colfax, Louisiana; Colfax, North Carolina and Colfax, Washington.

The Original Town of Colfax was a rectangle on the north side of the tracks. There were twelve blocks, each with eight or sixteen small lots, and an additional four blocks, each with a single larger lot, were located along the western edge of the Original Town., for a total of one hundred lots. These faced a widened area of railroad land, which ran the full length of the Original Town. No other public spaces were designated, but Main Street, which ran parallel to the tracks and one block to the north, was wider than the other streets. The depot was on the north side of the tracks and the early elevator, lumber yard and stock yard were on the south side.[9] William Rinker erected the first store, which sold groceries. Another grocery store, Wilson and Santee, followed. The third store was a somewhat larger two-story structure built by D.A. Green, who had moved his operation into Colfax from Potosi near the McLean County–Livingston County border; Green sold groceries, dry goods and drugs.[10]

In 1886 a company was formed to open the first of two coal mines at Colfax. The first to be opened was the shaft just west of town. Frank Seymour and Sons were paid fourteen dollars a foot to sink the shaft. They encountered problems with water, with cave ins and were soon slowed by the need to blast their way through limestone layers before reaching the coal seams. The railroad was unable to bring in sufficient shoring for the shaft and additional timber had to be hauled in by wagon. At 140 feet (43 m) they struck a narrow vein of coal, but excavators had to go down to 392 feet (119 m) before finding a productive 5 1⁄2-foot-thick (1.7 m) seam of coal. Miners were brought in, and the first coal was taken in June 1888. Financial troubles and rapid changes of ownership soon followed.[11] The organization of a company to open a second shaft, this one east of town, shaft began in December 1891, but it was June 1894 before digging could begin.[12]

Online HVAC School Colfax IL

Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered 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 comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Colfax IL.

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