How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Class near Elmwood Park Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Elmwood Park IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation 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 explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
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 air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Elmwood Park IL HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Elmwood Park IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Elmwood Park IL, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Elmwood Park IL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Elmwood Park and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Elmwood Park IL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Elmwood Park IL area have received 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train 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 directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Elmwood Park IL HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Elmwood Park IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Elmwood Park IL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Elmwood Park IL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Elmwood Park IL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Elmwood Park IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Elmwood Park Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Elmwood Park, Illinois
Elmwood Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 24,883 at the 2010 census. The community has long maintained a large Italian-American population, with a more recent influx of Polish-American and Hispanic residents.
Elmwood Park was incorporated as a village in early April 1914 in order to prevent annexation by the greater city of Chicago. Today one can still see evidence of a minority of landowners, or share farmers who voted for annexation to the city by the odd chunk taken out of Elmwood Park's northeast corner which kept the community from achieving a full square rectangular border.
At the turn of the Century urban dwellers would take the train westward out of the harsh concrete city for family picnics at the "Elm-Wood-Park", which was an ancient "Grove of majestic 180 year old Elms" found near 72nd Ave/Harlem and Irving Park road. Taking advantage of the park's provenance, a new cemetery was named Elmwood, while the closest train stop to both cemetery and park in unincorporated Marwood/Ellsworth became identified with the official name of "Elmwood Park". During the pressure era of incorporation a decade later, the village's founding representatives thought it most ideal to legally title the community after the stop, and after the namesake elm which is a native, locally evolved, riparian prairie "bottomland" tree species.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Training Elmwood Park IL
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is a critical 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 and Refrigeration Training. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Elmwood Park IL.
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