How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training near Stuarts Draft Virginia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Stuarts Draft VA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to research 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Stuarts Draft VA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly 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. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Stuarts Draft VA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Stuarts Draft VA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on 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 can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Stuarts Draft VA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Stuarts Draft and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Stuarts Draft VA area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Stuarts Draft VA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Stuarts Draft VA HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Stuarts Draft VA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Stuarts Draft VA 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 Stuarts Draft VA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Stuarts Draft VA, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Stuarts Draft VA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Stuarts Draft Virginia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Stuarts Draft, Virginia
Stuarts Draft is a census-designated place (CDP) in Augusta County, Virginia, United States. The population was 9,235 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Staunton–Waynesboro Micropolitan Statistical Area. It has been called the "Warehouse capital of the U.S." because of the seven warehouse/factories including Target Corporation distribution (T-560), Hershey Chocolate of Virginia, McKee Foods, Hollister Inc, Nibco, Ply Gem, and Sayre factory. It also has a summer baseball league team; the "Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks" play in the Rockingham County Baseball League and are four-time RCBL champions (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016).
In 1749, Thomas Stuart purchased 353 acres (1.43 km2) near the South River, a tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. 'Draft' probably refers to the document drafting the land sale or is a reference to the river itself (draft is an old term for river or creek and is part of the name of several such in the area). ‘Draft’ may also refer to a river crossing on Stuart’s parcel of land, another common local use of the term. The plain on the south side of the river tends to channel the wind, thus forming a rather constant draft.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,367 people, 3,124 households, and 2,436 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 422.0 people per square mile (162.9/km²). There were 3,279 housing units at an average density of 165.4/sq mi (63.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 95.27% White, 3.44% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.
Air Conditioner Classes Stuarts Draft VA
Choosing the right HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Classes. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk 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 choices 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 outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Stuarts Draft VA.
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