Category Archives: West Virginia

Trade School HVAC Sugar Grove WV

How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Sugar Grove West Virginia

air conditioner condensers in Sugar Grove WVOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Sugar Grove WV. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

Sugar Grove WV HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Sugar Grove WV HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Sugar Grove WV homeThere are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction 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 lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Sugar Grove WV.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Sugar Grove WV, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Classes Online

Sugar Grove WV student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Sugar Grove WV students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Sugar Grove and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Sugar Grove WV HVAC training schoolsAfter you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Sugar Grove WV area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Sugar Grove WV area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sugar Grove WV HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Sugar Grove WV HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sugar Grove WV HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Sugar Grove WV home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you receive as much individualized training 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 witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sugar Grove WV, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Sugar Grove WV?

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

Sugar Grove Station

Sugar Grove Station is a National Security Agency (NSA) communications site located near Sugar Grove in Pendleton County, West Virginia. According to a 2005 article in the New York Times, the site intercepts all international communications entering the Eastern United States.[1] Activities at the site previously involved the Naval Information Operations Command (NAVIOCOM).[citation needed] In April 2013, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered that the NAVIOCOM base be closed by September 30, 2015, as "a result of the determination by the resource sponsor National Security Agency to relocate the command's mission."[2][3] The naval base is being repurposed as a privately owned healthcare facility for veterans, while the NSA listening station, to the south, continues to operate.[4][5]

The site was first developed by the Naval Research Laboratory in the early 1960s as the site of a 600 ft (180 m) radio telescope[6] that would gather intelligence on Soviet radar and radio signals reflected from the moon and would gather radioastronomical data on outer space, but the project was halted in 1962 before the telescope construction was completed.[nb 1][8] The site was then developed as a radio receiving station. The site was activated as "Naval Radio Station Sugar Grove" on May 10, 1969, and two Wullenweber AN/FRD-10 Circulary Disposed Antenna Arrays (CDAAs) were completed on November 8, 1969. Numerous other antennas, dishes, domes, and other facilities were constructed in the following years. Some of the more significant radio telescopes on site are a 60 ft (18 m) dish (oldest telescope on site), a 105 ft (32 m) dish featuring a special waveguide receiver and a 150 ft (46 m) dish (largest telescope on site).

The site was part of the ECHELON communications network operated by the United States and its allies to intercept and process electronic telecommunications.[9] The network operates many sites around the world including Waihopai Valley in New Zealand, Menwith Hill in the United Kingdom and Yakima, Washington.

Trade School HVAC Sugar Grove WV

Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Trade School HVAC. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern 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 faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Sugar Grove WV.

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