How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling College near Strasburg Virginia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Strasburg VA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Strasburg VA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of options available 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 minimum amount of time, typically achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Strasburg VA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, many degrees feature 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Strasburg VA, subsequently going back to earn 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 Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some 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 participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Strasburg VA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Strasburg and study supplies may 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 commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Strasburg VA area and all over the USA 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, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Strasburg VA area have acquired 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers 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 graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Strasburg VA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Strasburg VA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Strasburg VA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Strasburg VA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Strasburg VA, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Strasburg VA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Strasburg Virginia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Strasburg /ˈstrɑːzbɜːrɡ/ is a town in Shenandoah County, Virginia, United States, which was founded in 1761 by Peter Stover. It is the largest town by population in the county and is known for its pottery, antiques, and Civil War history. The population was 6,398 at the 2010 census.
German-speaking Pennsylvanians were among the first non-native settlers to arrive in the northern Shenandoah Valley and Strasburg area. The luscious greenery and fertile land were prime targets for immigrant farmers. On August 21, 1734 speculator Henry Willis was granted 2,030 acres (8.2 km2) total of this land by William Gooch, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief. Gooch wished to settle the valley to create a buffer between Native American tribes and the rest of the Virginia colony. During the summer of 1735, Willis sold his entire property to Jacob Funk. Jacob in return, partitioned his new purchase, reselling a part of it to his brother John.
In contrast to the English culture found east of the Blue Ridge, Strasburg was settled with family farms and towns rather than plantations; few slaves; and Germanic language, religions, architecture and decorative arts. The thriving agricultural community that developed in the fertile bottomland along the banks of the Shenandoah River boasted scenic views of the Massanutten and Allegheny Mountains. Later nicknamed “Pot Town,” Strasburg also became a center for the production of both utilitarian and fancy earthenware and stoneware pottery. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many residents worked for the railroad industry and at limestone quarries; after WW II, other industries came to Strasburg, including paper and auto parts manufacture. Today Strasburg boasts a growing service economy, museums, charming eateries, numerous antique stores and other shops. Despite its location only 80 miles from Metro D.C. Strasburg has maintained its hospitable small town charm.
Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning Strasburg VA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Strasburg VA.
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