How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Course near Wausau Wisconsin
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Wausau WI. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Wausau WI HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Wausau WI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Wausau WI, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Wausau WI students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Wausau and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Wausau WI area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Wausau WI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Wausau WI HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Wausau WI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Wausau WI HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Wausau WI residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving 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 challenging in bigger 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 instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wausau WI, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Wausau WI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Wausau Wisconsin area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Wausau is a city in and the county seat of Marathon County, Wisconsin, United States. The Wisconsin River divides the city into east and west. The city's suburbs include Schofield, Weston, Brokaw, Rib Mountain, Kronenwetter, and Rothschild.
As of the 2010 census, Wausau had a population of 39,106. It is the core city of the Wausau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes all of Marathon County and had a population of 134,063 at the 2010 census.
This area was occupied for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Ojibwe (also known in the United States as the Chippewa) occupied it in the period of European encounter. They had a lucrative fur trade for decades with French colonists and French Canadians. After the French and Indian War this trade was dominated by British-American trappers from the eastern seaboard.
School for HVAC Wausau WI
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices 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 Wausau WI.
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