How to Select the Right HVAC Degree Program near Romney West Virginia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Romney WV. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Romney WV HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected 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 attained by passing a competency examination 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in 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 decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially 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 furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Romney WV.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Romney WV, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Romney WV students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Romney and study supplies may 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 little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have decided on 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 no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Romney WV area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Romney WV 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 relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require 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 program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Romney WV HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of 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 inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Romney WV HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Romney WV HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Romney WV home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Romney WV, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Romney WV?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Romney West Virginia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Romney, West Virginia
Romney is a city in and the county seat of Hampshire County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 1,940 at the 2000 census, while the area covered by the city's ZIP code had a population of 5,873. The population was 1,848 at the 2010 census.
Established by consecutive acts of the Virginia House of Burgesses and approved by the governor on December 23, 1762, Romney and Mecklenberg (later renamed Shepherdstown), in Jefferson County, are the oldest towns in West Virginia. The bill containing the Act for establishing the town of Romney, in the county of Hampshire, and for other purposes therein-mentioned, is listed 20th on a list of approved "publick and private bills" and is immediately followed by An Act for establishing the town of Mecklenburg, in the county of Frederick. 
Originally settled in 1725 by hunters and traders, Romney was known as Pearsall's Flats and was the site of the French and Indian War stockade Fort Pearsall. Named for the Cinque Ports town of Romney, Kent, England by Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, the town still bears place names and symbols from its colonial past such as its Marsham Street, named for Robert Marsham, 2nd Baron Romney. It is also home to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and the nation's First Confederate Memorial in Indian Mound Cemetery.
HVAC Tech Schools Romney WV
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Tech Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Romney WV.
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