How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Fairview Heights Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Fairview Heights IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion 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 within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely 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, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Fairview Heights IL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn 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 programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Fairview Heights IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Fairview Heights IL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Fairview Heights IL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Fairview Heights and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After 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 certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fairview Heights IL area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Fairview Heights IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program 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 receive a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Fairview Heights IL HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Fairview Heights IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fairview Heights IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fairview Heights IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairview Heights IL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Fairview Heights IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fairview Heights Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fairview Heights, Illinois
Fairview Heights is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,078 at the 2010 census. Fairview Heights is a dominant shopping center for Southwestern Illinois and includes numerous shopping plazas and the St. Clair Square mall.
According to the 2010 census, Fairview Heights has a total area of 11.497 square miles (29.78 km2), of which 11.42 square miles (29.58 km2) (or 99.33%) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.20 km2) (or 0.67%) is water.
French Village, Illinois is an unincorporated community (Class Code U4) located immediately west of Fairview Heights at 38°36′01″N 90°03′00″W / 38.600300°N 90.050100°W / 38.600300; -90.050100 (French Village, Illinois).
School for Heating and Air Conditioning Fairview Heights IL
Choosing the right HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for Heating and Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not 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 right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Fairview Heights IL.
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