How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling School near Highland Illinois
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Highland IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details 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 criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Highland IL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Highland IL.
- Certificate. Generally 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 job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Highland IL, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Highland IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Highland and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Highland IL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Highland IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Highland IL HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Highland IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Highland IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Highland IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Highland IL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Highland IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Highland Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Highland, Illinois was settled in the early 19th century by Swiss-German settlers. The town was founded in 1837 and celebrated its 175th Jubilee in 2012. It was first named Helvetia (pronounced hellveesha) in accordance with the Heritage of the town's Swiss-German founding members. The town voted to change its name to the English version - Highland, in the early 20th century, as well as stopping production of its German language newspaper, in part to avoid negativity towards those of Germanic heritage at the advent of the First World War. Around the same time, a small town in northern Illinois also started calling itself Highland. Eventually, the town in northern Illinois became Highland Park. Highland also has been home to many well-known businesses including Pet Milk and the Wicks Organ Company. For the past 60 years, Highland Supply Corporation has been producing and selling Floral Grass - a traditional decorative product used to line Easter baskets. Highland is also home to The Korte Company (builder of many large and well-known buildings including Universal Studios in Florida). Highland has a rich history including extended visits by such notables as Abraham Lincoln.
On November 21, 1915, the Liberty Bell passed through Highland on its nationwide tour returning to Pennsylvania from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. After that trip, the Liberty Bell returned to Pennsylvania and will not be moved again.
According to the 2010 census, Highland has a total area of 7.591 square miles (19.66 km2), of which 6.55 square miles (16.96 km2) (or 86.29%) is land and 1.041 square miles (2.70 km2) (or 13.71%) is water.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Course Highland IL
Enrolling in the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Course. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Highland IL.
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