How to Choose HVAC Training Courses Reading MI

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Reading Michigan

air conditioner condensers in Reading MINow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Reading MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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 criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Pro

Reading MI HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Reading MI HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses

radiator heater in Reading MI homeThere are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Reading MI.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Reading MI, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Schools Online

Reading MI student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Reading MI students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Reading and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.

Questions For HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Reading MI HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Reading MI area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 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.  A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Reading MI area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school 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 make certain that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Reading MI HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Reading MI HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Reading MI HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Reading MI home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Reading MI, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Reading MI?

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

Reading, Michigan

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,078 people, 392 households, and 281 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,067.3 inhabitants per square mile (412.1/km2). There were 435 housing units at an average density of 430.7 per square mile (166.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.9% White, 0.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 392 households of which 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.3% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.21.

The median age in the city was 33.3 years. 32.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 22% were from 45 to 64; and 11.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

How to Choose HVAC Training Courses Reading MI

Picking the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Training Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Reading MI.

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