How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Course near Plainwell Michigan
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Plainwell MI. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Plainwell MI HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with 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 multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Plainwell MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources 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 trade in Plainwell MI, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Plainwell MI students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Plainwell and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Plainwell MI area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Plainwell MI area have acquired 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Plainwell MI HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Plainwell MI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Plainwell MI HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Plainwell MI residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify 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 at night or on weekends near Plainwell MI, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Plainwell MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Plainwell Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Plainwell is located on M-89 just east of its junction with US 131. The city of Otsego is about three miles (4.8 km) to the west. Kalamazoo is about ten miles (16 km) to the south and Grand Rapids about 35 miles (56 km) north. The Kalamazoo River flows through the center of the city.
This part of Michigan was settled in the 1830s, after the removal of native people. Allegan County was organized in 1835, and the Plainwell area was settled soon after. It was on a stagecoach route from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, and later the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was constructed along the same route. After the advent of the automobile, U.S. Route 131 was created and run through the town. In the 1960s, an improved 4-lane US-131 was built west of town to connect Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, with an interchange on M-89 between Plainwell and Otsego. This allowed the town to become a kind of "bedroom community" for Kalamazoo or the southern part of Grand Rapids.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.06 square miles (5.34 km2), of which 1.98 square miles (5.13 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water. The nickname Island City has to do with a power canal which diverts a portion of the Kalamazoo River around the downtown area, causing it to be an island.
How Long is HVAC Training Plainwell MI
Finding the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How Long is HVAC Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to select an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Plainwell MI.
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