Category Archives: West Virginia

Heating and Air Training Richwood WV

How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Richwood West Virginia

air conditioner condensers in Richwood WVOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Richwood WV. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While 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 completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Professional

Richwood WV HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Richwood WV HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Schools

radiator heater in Richwood WV homeThere are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Richwood WV.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment 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 2 years to finish, 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Richwood WV, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Schools

Richwood WV student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Richwood WV students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Richwood and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Richwood WV HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Richwood WV area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Richwood WV area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Richwood WV HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Richwood WV HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Richwood WV HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Richwood WV home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you receive as much individualized 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Richwood WV, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Richwood WV?

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

Richwood, West Virginia

Richwood is a city in Nicholas County, West Virginia, United States. In 2010, the census showed Richwood with a population of 2,051. During the 19th and early 20th century Richwood was a booming coal and lumber town. Richwood has a very rich history, including the formation of the Cherry River Navy civic organization to draw attention to issues important to the community. Richwood has also became known statewide as the "Ramp Capital of the World". Each year, in April, the city hosts a large festival that draws visitors from around the country.

The area surrounding the forks of the Cherry River has been populated since the late 1700s.[citation needed] During the 19th century, the area was a sparsely settled semi-wilderness of homesteads and subsistence farms. This changed in 1898 when a railroad was extended into the area, then known as Cherry Tree Bottoms. In 1901, the town was incorporated with its present name referencing the abundant hardwood forests in the area. Soon, the area possessed a large sawmill and the world's largest clothespin factory.[6]

The town was once home to several large businesses and industries. In addition to the sawmill and the clothespin factory, there were other factories that produced wood-based products such as axe-handles and paper. Coal also came into the industry picture during Richwood's boom-era during pre-Depression years. Banking was a white-collar industry that succeeded in the city with the large companies investing into the city's financial corporations. Once the large factories closed or relocated, many of the people followed. The final hit was when the coal industry took a downward turn and most of the local coal mines ceased operation.[citation needed]

Heating and Air Training Richwood WV

Finding the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Richwood WV.

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