How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling School near Warrington Pennsylvania
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Warrington PA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Warrington PA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here 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 competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Warrington PA.
- Certificate. Usually 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Warrington PA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also offer 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 online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Warrington PA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Warrington and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Warrington PA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Warrington PA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest 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 broader list of alumni, which can result in 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 field, but also that it has the network of Warrington PA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Warrington PA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area 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 working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Warrington PA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Warrington PA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Warrington PA, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Warrington PA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Warrington Pennsylvania area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Warrington Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Warrington Township was founded in October 1734, and is named after the town of Warrington in Cheshire, England or, possibly, after the hamlet of Warrington in Buckinghamshire, England. The early township consisted of four villages: Warrington, Neshaminy, Tradesville, and Pleasantville. Warrington was located at the intersection of Bristol Road and the Doylestown-Willow Grove Turnpike, now known as Easton Road (PA Route 611).
Neshaminy, originally known as Warrington Square, was centered at Street Road and the Turnpike (611), but became known as Neshaminy because of its proximity to the Little Neshaminy Creek. The Village of Tradesville was near Lower State Road and was originally known as Stuckert's Corner because of a store operated by a man named Stuckert.
The Village of Pleasantville (or Eureka) was located near Lower State Road and County Line Road. It was the location of the first church in the township, The Reformed Church of Pleasantville, founded in 1840.
Heating and Refrigeration Courses Warrington PA
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Refrigeration Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Warrington PA.
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