How to Choose the Right HVAC Program near Homewood Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Homewood IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Homewood IL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained 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. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often achieved in as little as 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 relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Homewood IL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, a number of degrees feature 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Homewood IL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete 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 rest of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Homewood IL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Homewood and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Homewood IL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Homewood IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Homewood IL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Homewood IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Homewood IL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Homewood IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging 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 instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Homewood IL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Homewood IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Homewood Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Homewood is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, and a suburb of Chicago. The population was 19,323 at the 2010 census. Homewood is a sister city to Homewood, Alabama. In 2007, Forbes magazine rated Homewood as one of the three most "livable" suburbs in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.
According to the 2010 census, Homewood has a total area of 5.259 square miles (13.62 km2), of which 5.21 square miles (13.49 km2) (or 99.07%) is land and 0.049 square miles (0.13 km2) (or 0.93%) is water. It lies on the Calumet Shoreline. The ancient shoreline can be seen clearly as the sand ridge along Ridge Road. A south suburban village, Homewood is 22 miles (35 km) due south of The Loop/downtown Chicago at 800 west and 18300 south on the Chicago grid system.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,543 people, 7,552 households, and 5,256 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,755.5 people per square mile (1,451.1/km²). There were 7,827 housing units at an average density of 1,504.1 per square mile (581.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 56.50% White, 33.70% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 2.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.
Top HVAC Training Courses Homewood IL
Choosing the right HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Top HVAC Training Courses. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Homewood IL.
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