How to Select the Right HVAC Training Program near Barrington Rhode Island
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Barrington RI. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Barrington RI HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important 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 certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often accomplished in just six months, however 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 may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Barrington RI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing 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 approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Barrington RI, subsequently going back to obtain 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 Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Barrington RI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Barrington and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Barrington RI area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Barrington RI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Barrington RI HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Barrington RI HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Barrington RI HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Barrington RI residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Barrington RI, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Barrington RI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Barrington Rhode Island area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Barrington, Rhode Island
Barrington is a suburban, residential town in Bristol County, Rhode Island located approximately 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Providence. It was founded by Congregationalist separatists from Swansea, Massachusetts and incorporated in 1717.
Barrington was ceded to Rhode Island and merged into Warren in 1747, though it was later made into a separate town by the Rhode Island legislature. It was a sparsely developed, agricultural community until the arrival of brickmaking companies in the 1850s, which employed large numbers of French-Canadians and Italians. The construction of a railroad to Providence in 1855 further contributed to suburban development, attracting residents of neighboring urban areas and contributing to the development of manufacturing industries. The post-World War II baby boom increased suburbanization trends, resulting in a large population increase.
Schools were constructed throughout the 1950s to accommodate this population. Three Barrington schools are National Blue Ribbon Schools, and its high school was ranked No. 200 in the United States by Newsweek in 2014. Money noted the appeal of Barrington's high test scores and relative affordability, naming it one of the best places to live in the United States.
HVAC Training Classes Barrington RI
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Classes. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Barrington RI.
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