How to Find the Right HVAC School near Geneseo Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Geneseo IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Geneseo IL HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses 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 training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Geneseo IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Geneseo IL, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Geneseo IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Geneseo and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Geneseo IL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Geneseo IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Geneseo IL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Geneseo IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art 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 regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Geneseo IL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Geneseo IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Geneseo IL, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Geneseo IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Geneseo Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Geneseo is a city in Henry County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,586 at the 2010 census, up from 6,480 in 2000. Geneseo is 20 miles east of the Quad Cities, at the intersection of Interstate 80, U.S. Route 6 and Illinois Route 82.
Geneseo was founded as a Christian colony in 1836 by seven families of the Congregationalist denomination from Geneseo, New York and Bergen, New York seeking to establish a "church in the wilderness". Roderick R. Stewart, one of the city's founding members, named the town Geneseo after the settlers' town of origin in New York. The name "Geneseo" is a variation of the Iroquois word Genesee, meaning "shining valley" or "beautiful valley".
Planning for the colony began as early as 1829. In May 1836 the founding seven families of Geneseo sent an exploratory committee to survey the precise location of their new community in the Old Northwest. This group, known as the "New York Committee", or "New York Group" was composed of John C. Ward, Cromwell K. Bartlett, and Roderick R. Stewart. Advised at a meeting in Chicago by the future Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, the small committee rode by wagon and horseback to investigate the 2,000-acre tract. The transaction of the land was completed at a place called Brandenburg's Tavern in what is today Colona Township and purchased at a dollar and a quarter per acre.
Online Classes for HVAC Geneseo IL
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online Classes for HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Geneseo IL.
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