How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling School near Plymouth Michigan
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Plymouth MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Plymouth MI HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination 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 must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, 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 desire to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Plymouth MI.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate 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 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 learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Plymouth MI, subsequently 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
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Plymouth MI students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Plymouth and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Plymouth MI area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Plymouth MI area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Plymouth MI HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Plymouth MI HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Plymouth MI HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Plymouth MI home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased 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 difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Plymouth MI, verify 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 permits part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Plymouth MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Plymouth Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Plymouth is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 9,132 at the 2010 census. The city of Plymouth is entirely surrounded by Plymouth Charter Township but both are administered autonomously.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.22 square miles (5.75 km2), of which 2.21 square miles (5.72 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. It is located 15.6 miles (25.1 km) east of Ann Arbor and 26.3 miles (42.3 km) west of Detroit, just south of the M-14 highway and west of Interstate 275.
The City of Plymouth has a variety of shops and restaurants surrounding Kellogg Park, the de facto center of town. The Inn at St. John's, a hotel conference center and golf resort, is located in Plymouth. The city offers more than fifty recreation programs for all age groups, an NHL-size ice arena and twelve parks. It also organizes major community events such as the popular Fall Festival, Ice Sculpture Spectacular and the Art in the Park, and access to the Plymouth-Canton school district, with a unique complex composed of three high schools located on one 305-acre (1.23 km2) campus and is now one of the highest populated high school campuses in the country with close to 6500 students and over 800 faculty members. The Barefoot Productions theater company is located on Main Street.
How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Technician Plymouth MI
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Technician. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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 choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Plymouth MI.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Michigan
Business Results 1 - 10 of 377