How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Thomaston Connecticut
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Thomaston CT. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Thomaston CT HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several 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 techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be received 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, however some courses 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 advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Thomaston CT.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees include 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Thomaston CT, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Thomaston CT students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Thomaston and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Thomaston CT area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Thomaston CT area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Thomaston CT HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Thomaston CT HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Thomaston CT HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Thomaston CT residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Thomaston CT, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check 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 Thomaston CT?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Thomaston Connecticut area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Thomaston is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 7,887 at the 2010 census. The urban center of the town is the Thomaston census-designated place, with a population of 1,910 at the 2010 census.
The town, originally part of Plymouth, Connecticut, and referred to as 'Plymouth Hollow' was first settled by Henry Cook ("the soldier in the wilderness," 1683–1750) around 1728. The town is known for clockmaking, which started in 1803, when Eli Terry established a factory in the town. Terry brought mass production to the clockmaking industry, helping to reduce the cost of clocks. He introduced and patented the shelf clock in 1814, which reduced the cost of a clock from $25 to $5. His clocks were sold throughout the US. It was incorporated in its own right and under the name "Thomaston" in 1875. The name derives from Seth Thomas, the early clockmaker, who established a factory in town in 1812. The Seth Thomas clock factory building still exists; however, the clockmaking industry has long since left the state as well as the country.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total size of 12.2 square miles (31.7 km²). 12.0 square miles (31.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (1.80%) is water.
Associates Degree in HVAC Thomaston CT
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Associates Degree in HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Thomaston CT.
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