How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling School near Harwood Heights Illinois
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Harwood Heights IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Harwood Heights IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together 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 specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree 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 Harwood Heights IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Harwood Heights IL, subsequently going back to obtain 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 Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Harwood Heights IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Harwood Heights and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Harwood Heights IL area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Harwood Heights IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring 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 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 of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but also that it has the network of Harwood Heights IL HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Harwood Heights IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Harwood Heights IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Harwood Heights IL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Harwood Heights IL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Harwood Heights IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Harwood Heights Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Harwood Heights, Illinois
Harwood Heights is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 8,612 at the 2010 census.Harwood Heights and its neighbor Norridge form an enclave surrounded by the City of Chicago.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,297 people, 3,505 households, and 2,183 families residing in the village. The population density was 10,094.4 people per square mile (3,906.7/km²). There were 3,606 housing units at an average density of 4,387.2 per square mile (1,697.9/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 92.13% White, 0.31% African American, 0.24% Native American, 4.42% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.54% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.83% of the population.
Based on United States Census data, Harwood Heights is listed as an Illinois community with a significant number of Polish Americans, at 32.5%. Among communities in the United States with populations of 500 or more, Harwood Heights has the second highest percentage of residents born in Poland (18.8%). It also has the seventh highest percentage of residents born in Italy among communities in the United States (4.9%).
Diploma in HVAC Harwood Heights IL
Selecting the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Diploma in HVAC. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether 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 laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices 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 Harwood Heights IL.
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