How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Glen Carbon Illinois
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Glen Carbon IL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Glen Carbon IL HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required 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 offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians 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.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Glen Carbon IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Glen Carbon IL, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Glen Carbon IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Glen Carbon and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Glen Carbon IL area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Glen Carbon IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Glen Carbon IL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Glen Carbon IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Glen Carbon IL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Glen Carbon IL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Glen Carbon IL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Glen Carbon IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Glen Carbon Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Glen Carbon, Illinois
In 1801, Colonel Samuel Judy received a military grant for 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land near the base of the bluffs, just north of Judy Creek, and became one of the first permanent settlers of Madison County. The land was called Goshen Settlement, after the biblical land of Goshen. It was renamed Glen Carbon to reflect its coal mining heritage. Glen Carbon was incorporated as a village in 1892. It operated many coal mines until the last one shut down in 1934. Another industry was the St. Louis brick company, which burned down in the 1930s; then, right after being rebuilt, it burned down and was never rebuilt again.
Glen Carbon residents served during World War I. The city's Doughboy statue, honoring their service, has been selected as part of a national competition for restoration as part of the nation's World War I centennial activities.
Three railroads once served Glen Carbon. The Illinois Central Railroad, now the Ronald J. Foster Sr. Heritage Bike Trail, became one of the first rails to trails projects in the US, in 1992. The other two lines were the Norfolk Southern line and the Chicago and North Western line, which ran parallel with each other the entire way through Glen Carbon, and stopped operating in Glen Carbon in March 2000. The Nickel Plate Bike Trail follows both of those right-of-ways, switching back and forth between the NS and CNW lines the whole way through Glen Carbon.
Training HVAC Glen Carbon IL
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Training HVAC. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Glen Carbon IL.
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