How to Find the Right HVAC Training Program near El Paso Illinois
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near El Paso IL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into 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 within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for El Paso IL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near El Paso IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, some degrees include 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in El Paso IL, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some El Paso IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from El Paso and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the El Paso IL area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the El Paso IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at 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 might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of El Paso IL HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local El Paso IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local El Paso IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your El Paso IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher 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 few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Paso IL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows 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 El Paso IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the El Paso Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
El Paso, Illinois
El Paso is a city in Woodford and McLean counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 2,810 at the 2010 census. The Woodford County portion of El Paso is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
El Paso is a small community in central Illinois that took on more characteristics of a highway community after the construction of Interstate 39, which supplanted the older alignment of U.S. Highway 51. In addition, El Paso is a potential stop for Chicago-Peoria traffic via U.S. Highway 24.
El Paso was founded by George Gibson and James Wathen. Gibson named the city "El Paso" after El Paso, Texas, or from the presence of low laying Rio Grande River that allowed an open pass between two mountains
Air Conditioning School Online El Paso IL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning School Online. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak 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 inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in El Paso IL.
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