How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Edwardsville Illinois
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Edwardsville IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Edwardsville IL HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination 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 professional 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 result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle 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 area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just 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 applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Edwardsville IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Edwardsville IL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also sponsor 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 attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Edwardsville IL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Edwardsville and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Edwardsville IL area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Edwardsville 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Edwardsville IL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Edwardsville IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Edwardsville IL HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Edwardsville IL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Edwardsville IL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Edwardsville IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Edwardsville Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Edwardsville is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,293. It is the county seat of Madison County. The city was named in honor of Ninian Edwards, then Governor of the Illinois Territory.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the Edwardsville Arts Center, the Edwardsville Journal, the Madison County Record, and the Edwardsville Intelligencer are here. Edwardsville High School and Metro-East Lutheran High School serve students in the area.
Edwardsville is a part of Southern Illinois, the Metro East region, and Greater St. Louis. It is part of the Edwardsville School District, which also includes the villages of Glen Carbon, Hamel, and Moro, as well as the townships areas around them.
HVAC Certificate Online Edwardsville IL
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Certificate Online. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether evening 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Edwardsville IL.
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