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Air Conditioning Installation Course Warrendale PA

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Warrendale Pennsylvania

air conditioner condensers in Warrendale PANow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Warrendale PA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Specialist

Warrendale PA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Warrendale PA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following 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 proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, 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 choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes

radiator heater in Warrendale PA homeThere are several options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Warrendale PA.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include 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 four 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.

Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Warrendale PA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Classes Online

Warrendale PA student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC school online is one option to getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Warrendale PA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Warrendale and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Certification Classes

Questions to ask Warrendale PA HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Warrendale PA area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Warrendale PA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Warrendale PA HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Warrendale PA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Warrendale PA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Warrendale PA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Warrendale PA, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Warrendale PA?

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

Warrendale, Pennsylvania

Warrendale is a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located in the northwestern corner of Allegheny County. It is the home to the corporate headquarters of rue21, Joy Mining Machinery, Printing Industries of America and SAE International, as well as the United States Postal Service Pittsburgh Network Distribution Center, one of 21 such mail delivery hubs in the country. It is also the home to one of American Eagle Outfitters' four North American distribution centers.

Air Conditioning Installation Course Warrendale PA

Finding the right HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Installation Course. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Warrendale PA.

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