HVAC Technician College Hickory Hills IL

How to Select the Right HVAC Training Class near Hickory Hills Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Hickory Hills ILOnce you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Hickory Hills IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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 criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Technician

Hickory Hills IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Hickory Hills IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the significant 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 makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools

radiator heater in Hickory Hills IL homeThere 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 lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Hickory Hills IL.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, along with 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Hickory Hills IL, subsequently returning to acquire 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 Online Classes

Hickory Hills IL student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Hickory Hills IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Hickory Hills and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.

Questions For HVAC Training Classes

Questions to ask Hickory Hills IL HVAC training schoolsOnce you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Hickory Hills IL area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical schools in the Hickory Hills IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Hickory Hills IL HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Hickory Hills IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Hickory Hills IL HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Hickory Hills IL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may 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 larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hickory Hills IL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Hickory Hills IL?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Hickory Hills Illinois area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Hickory Hills, Illinois

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 13,926 people, 5,216 households, and 3,698 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,913.0 people per square mile (1,900.0/km²). There were 5,332 housing units at an average density of 1,881.1 per square mile (727.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.89% White, 1.24% African American, 0.23% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.38% from other races, and 3.18% from two or more races.

There were 5,216 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

HVAC Technician College Hickory Hills IL

Picking the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technician College. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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 options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Hickory Hills IL.

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