Category Archives: Massachusetts

Best HVAC Schools West Boylston MA

How to Pick the Right HVAC Program near West Boylston Massachusetts

air conditioner condensers in West Boylston MAOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near West Boylston MA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Contractor

West Boylston MA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business 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 skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for West Boylston MA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, 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 acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses

radiator heater in West Boylston MA homeThere are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near West Boylston MA.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in West Boylston MA, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Training

West Boylston MA student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many 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 may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some West Boylston MA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from West Boylston and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask HVAC Schools

Questions to ask West Boylston MA HVAC training schoolsWhen you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the West Boylston MA area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical schools in the West Boylston MA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Boylston MA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local West Boylston MA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local West Boylston MA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your West Boylston MA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near West Boylston MA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near West Boylston MA?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the West Boylston Massachusetts area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

West Boylston, Massachusetts

West Boylston is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,669 at the 2010 census. West Boylston includes the village of Oakdale, located on the opposite side of the Wachusett Reservoir from West Boylston center along Route 140. Although the town was split off from Boylston, it has a larger population than its eastern namesake.

West Boylston was originally part of several neighboring towns – Lancaster, Shrewsbury, Boylston, Holden and Sterling. The town was created as part of a dispute between Boylston and West Boylston over the location of a new town meeting house. It was incorporated in 1808.

During the 1800s the town grew with textile and other industries and became a prosperous community. This prosperity was interrupted as the town was selected as the site of the Wachusett Reservoir to provide water for Boston. It was selected due to its location at the junction of three rivers: the Quinapoxet River, the Stillwater River and the Nashua River. In 1897, the Nashua River in the town of Clinton was impounded by the Wachusett Dam. 6.5 square miles (17 km2) were flooded in the towns of Boylston, West Boylston, Clinton and Sterling. Over 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) of West Boylston's land was used for the reservoir, the most of any town. This disrupted the center of town and most of the industrial base. Many buildings were moved to the unaffected parts of the town but the majority were demolished and filled by the reservoir. Over 1700 residents, 300 homes, eight schools, six mills, four churches and one hotel were moved to dry land. The state paid approximately 60 cents on the dollar for use of the land with the promise to pay $12,000 a year to the town for lost tax revenue forever. The reservoir was completed in 1905 and first filled in May 1908. West Boylston's prominent landmark, the Old Stone Church, was left remaining as a reminder of those that lost their homes and jobs to the building of the reservoir. It is one of the most photographed sites in the area.

Best HVAC Schools West Boylston MA

Selecting the right HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Best HVAC Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out 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 remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined 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 right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in West Boylston MA.

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