How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training near Watertown Massachusetts
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Watertown MA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Watertown MA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain 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, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Watertown MA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred 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 comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Watertown MA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Watertown MA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Watertown and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Watertown MA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Watertown MA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Watertown MA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Watertown MA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Watertown MA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Watertown MA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Watertown MA, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find 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 Watertown MA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Watertown Massachusetts area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Watertown is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Greater Boston area. It is officially recognized as the Town of Watertown, despite having been granted city forms of government, making it one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that retain "The town of" in their official names while being classified as cities. The population was 31,915 at the 2010 census. Watertown is made up of six neighborhoods: Bemis, the Brigham Historic District, Coolidge Square, East Watertown, Watertown Square, and the West End.
Founded in 1630, Watertown was one of the first Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements and was originally ranked alongside Boston (the present-day capital of Massachusetts) in population and area. The city is home to the Perkins School for the Blind, the Armenian Library and Museum of America, and the historic Watertown Arsenal, which was prominently used in both World War I and II. It has since had part of it renovated into a shopping center named Arsenal Yards, with another part now being used as the headquarters for Athenahealth.
Archeological evidence suggests that Watertown was inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from England. Two tribes of Massachusett, the Pequossette and the Nonantum, had settlements on the banks of the river later called the Charles. The Pequossette built a fishing weir to trap herring at the site of the current Watertown Dam. The annual fish migration, as both alewife and blueback herring swim upstream from their adult home in the sea to spawn in the fresh water where they were hatched, still occurs every spring.
HVAC Training Programs Watertown MA
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Programs. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk 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 whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Watertown MA.
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