How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Godfrey Illinois
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Godfrey IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in 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 local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Godfrey IL HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick 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 school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Godfrey IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 call for 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.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to 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 gaining some experience in the field in Godfrey IL, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Godfrey IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Godfrey and study supplies may be minimized, 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 hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Godfrey IL area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Godfrey IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors 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 broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Godfrey 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 technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Godfrey IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Godfrey IL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Godfrey IL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Godfrey IL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find 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 Godfrey IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Godfrey Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
According to the 2010 census, Godfrey has a total area of 36.638 square miles (94.89 km2), of which 34.64 square miles (89.72 km2) (or 94.55%) is land and 1.998 square miles (5.17 km2) (or 5.45%) is water.
The southwestern boundary of the village is a wall of limestone bluffs along the Mississippi River. Approximately 12 miles (19 km) upstream is the mouth of the Illinois River. The Missouri River empties into the Mississippi 10 miles (16 km) downstream. Godfrey retains the status of a village and is a mixture of small business, agriculture, and upper middle class housing developments.
The village is named for Captain Benjamin Godfrey, a native New Englander, who arrived in the area in 1832. 1838 saw the establishment of the Monticello Female Seminary, later renamed Monticello College. Captain Godfrey, the father of eight daughters, was an advocate of higher education for women and made a large donation of funds and land for the college. Monticello operated as a two-year college for women until the campus was sold in 1970 to establish Lewis and Clark Community College. Monticello's final class graduated in 1971.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools Godfrey IL
Choosing the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you should choose an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. 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 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 detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Godfrey IL.
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