How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Wiscasset Maine
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Wiscasset ME. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Wiscasset ME HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to 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 obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Wiscasset ME.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering 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 future career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Wiscasset ME, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Wiscasset ME students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Wiscasset and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Wiscasset ME area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Wiscasset ME area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 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 additionally that it has the network of Wiscasset ME HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Wiscasset ME HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Wiscasset ME HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Wiscasset ME home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wiscasset ME, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Wiscasset ME?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Wiscasset Maine area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Wiscasset is a town in and the seat of Lincoln County, Maine, United States. The municipality is located in the state of Maine's Mid Coast region. The population was 3,732 as of the 2010 census. Home to the Chewonki Foundation, Wiscasset is a tourist destination noted for early architecture.
In 1605, Samuel de Champlain is said to have landed here and exchanged gifts with the Indians. Situated on the tidal Sheepscot River, Wiscasset was first settled in 1663. The community was abandoned during the French and Indian Wars, and the King Philip's War in 1675 and then resettled around 1730. In 1760, it was incorporated as Pownalborough after Colonial Governor Thomas Pownall. In 1802, it resumed its original Abenaki name, Wiscasset, which means "coming out from the harbor but you don't see where."
In 1775, Captain Jack Bunker supposedly robbed the payroll of a British supply ship, Falmouth Packet, that was stowed in Wiscasset Harbor. He was chased for days and caught on Little Seal Island. His treasure reportedly has never been found.
Air Conditioning College Courses Wiscasset ME
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning College Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Wiscasset ME.
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