Category Archives: Virginia

HVAC Vocational Training Toano VA

How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course near Toano Virginia

air conditioner condensers in Toano VAOnce you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Toano VA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Pro

Toano VA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Toano VA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare 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 Training Programs

radiator heater in Toano VA homeThere are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Toano VA.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, a number of 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 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.

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 commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Toano VA, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Schools Online

Toano VA student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC school online is one option in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Toano VA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Toano and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Toano VA HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Toano VA area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Toano VA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain 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 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 guarantee that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Toano VA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Toano VA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Toano VA HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Toano VA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out 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 meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Toano VA, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Toano VA?

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

Toano, Virginia

Toano was established in the late 19th century in western James City County at the former site of "Burnt Ordinary", which was named in the 18th century for a roadside tavern that had burned down. The word Toano comes from a Native American word meaning "high ground".

In 1881, the Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) was built through the area from Richmond to reach the coal piers on Hampton Roads at the new city of Newport News. The C&O built a railroad station at Toano.

Toano was located on the old Richmond-Williamsburg Stage Road, which is U.S. Route 60 in modern times. Interstate 64 was built through the area in the 1970s, and passes nearby. Exit 227, located at the intersection of State Route 30, is signed "Toano-West Point".

HVAC Vocational Training Toano VA

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Vocational Training. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 contractor in Toano VA.

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