How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Class near West Lafayette Indiana
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near West Lafayette IN. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for West Lafayette IN HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational 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, often completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near West Lafayette IN.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in West Lafayette IN, later returning to obtain 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 Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some West Lafayette IN students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from West Lafayette and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many 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 active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the West Lafayette IN area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the West Lafayette IN area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 West Lafayette IN HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training 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 inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local West Lafayette IN HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local West Lafayette IN HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your West Lafayette IN residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out 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 evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near West Lafayette IN, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near West Lafayette IN?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the West Lafayette Indiana area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette /ˌlɑːfiˈɛt/ is a city in Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis and 103 miles (166 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette is directly across the Wabash River from its sister city, Lafayette. As of the 2016 census estimate, its population was 45,872. It is the most densely populated city in Indiana and is home to Purdue University.
Augustus Wylie laid out a town in 1836 in the Wabash River floodplain south of the present Levee. Due to regular flooding of the site, Wylie's town was never built. The present city was formed in 1888 by the merger of the adjacent suburban towns of Chauncey, Oakwood, and Kingston, located on a bluff across the Wabash River from Lafayette, Indiana. The three towns had been small suburban villages which were directly adjacent to one another. Kingston was laid out in 1855 by Jesse B. Lutz. Chauncey was platted in 1860 by the Chauncey family of Philadelphia, wealthy land speculators. Chauncey and Kingston formed a municipal government in 1866 which selected the name "Chauncey".
The new town of Chauncey remained a small suburban village until Purdue University opened in 1869. In 1871 Chauncey voted to be annexed by Lafayette because it was unable to provide the infrastructure (such as improved streets, waterworks, police and fire protection). Lafayette voted against annexing Chauncey because of the high cost of the many improvements that the village lacked. In May 1888, the town of Chauncey voted to change its name to West Lafayette after a petition signed by 152 electors. By that time, the growth of the university was fueling the growth of the little town. The address of Purdue University was given as "Lafayette, Indiana" until well into the twentieth century. West Lafayette never gained a railroad depot and lagged several years behind Lafayette in the establishment of municipal infrastructure and services. Today, West Lafayette has established itself as a separate city, with independent services and unique neighborhoods distinct from those of its sister city, Lafayette.
Best HVAC Training Schools West Lafayette IN
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Best HVAC Training Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in West Lafayette IN.
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