How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling School near Studley Virginia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Studley VA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Studley VA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following 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 may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number 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. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Studley VA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, some degrees include 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 conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Studley VA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Studley VA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Studley and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous 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, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Studley VA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Studley VA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Studley VA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Studley VA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Studley VA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Studley VA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Studley VA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find 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 Studley VA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Studley Virginia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Williamsville (Studley, Virginia)
Williamsville is a historic home located at Studley, Hanover County, Virginia. The main house was built between 1794 and 1803, and is a two-story, five bay, brick I-house in the Federal style. It has a rear ell. The house features a one-story wood porch surmounted by a balustrade and sophisticated trim, including the fully developed modillioned cornice and the elaborate Adamesque mantels.
HVAC College Courses Studley VA
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC College Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night 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 right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Studley VA.
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