School for Air Conditioning Ottawa Lake MI

How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Ottawa Lake Michigan

air conditioner condensers in Ottawa Lake MIOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Ottawa Lake MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria 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 air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Contractor

Ottawa Lake MI HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC 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 air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Ottawa Lake MI HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools

radiator heater in Ottawa Lake MI homeThere are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Ottawa Lake MI.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning 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, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Ottawa Lake MI, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Training

Ottawa Lake MI student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Ottawa Lake MI students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Ottawa Lake and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes

Questions to ask Ottawa Lake MI HVAC training schoolsOnce you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Ottawa Lake MI area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Ottawa Lake MI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train 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 produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Ottawa Lake MI HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical 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 comparing have working partnerships with local Ottawa Lake MI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Ottawa Lake MI HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Ottawa Lake MI residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ottawa Lake MI, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be 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 responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Ottawa Lake MI?

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

Ottawa County, Michigan

Ottawa County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the United States 2010 Census, the population was 263,801.[2] The county seat is Grand Haven.[3] The county is named for the Ottawa Nation. It was set off in 1831 and organized in 1837.[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 263,801 people residing in the county. 90.1% were White, 2.6% Asian, 1.5% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.4% of some other race and 2.0% of two or more races. 8.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 31.0% were of Dutch, 14.2% German, 5.8% English and 5.7% Irish ancestry.[10]

As of the 2000 United States Census,[11] there were 238,314 people, 81,662 households, and 61,328 families in the county. The population density was 421 people per square mile (163/km²). There were 86,856 housing units at an average density of 154 per square mile (59/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.52% White, 1.05% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.48% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. 7.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 37.3% reported being of Dutch, 14.6% German, 6.2% English, 5.6% Irish and 5.4% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.5% spoke only English at home; 5.4% spoke Spanish.

School for Air Conditioning Ottawa Lake MI

Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for Air Conditioning. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Ottawa Lake MI.

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