Category Archives: West Virginia

Degree Air Conditioning Sophia WV

How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Sophia West Virginia

air conditioner condensers in Sophia WVOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Sophia WV. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Tech

Sophia WV HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Sophia WV HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. 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 attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists 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 could be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Courses

radiator heater in Sophia WV homeThere are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Sophia WV.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Sophia WV, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Sophia WV student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Sophia WV students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Sophia and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Sophia WV HVAC training schoolsWhen you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Sophia WV area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Sophia WV area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify 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 directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Sophia WV HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Sophia WV HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Sophia 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 Sophia WV home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Sophia WV, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Sophia WV?

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

Sophia, West Virginia

Sophia is a town in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. It was incorporated in 1912. The population was 1,344 at the 2010 census. Sophia was the hometown of the late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,344 people, 590 households, and 391 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,947.8 inhabitants per square mile (752.0/km2). There were 655 housing units at an average density of 949.3 per square mile (366.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.2% White, 0.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.1% of the population.

There were 590 households of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.7% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.77.

Degree Air Conditioning Sophia WV

Finding the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Degree Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out 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. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Sophia WV.

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