How to Choose HVAC Certificate Programs Reed City MI

How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling School near Reed City Michigan

air conditioner condensers in Reed City MINow that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Reed City MI. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Technician

Reed City 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 techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Reed City MI HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may 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 as well as 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 result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Schools

radiator heater in Reed City MI homeThere are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Reed City MI.

  • Certificate. Generally 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 job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Reed City MI, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Schools

Reed City MI student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Reed City MI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Reed City 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 commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses

Questions to ask Reed City MI HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Reed City MI area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Reed City MI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course 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 course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Reed City MI HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools 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 considering have working relationships with local Reed City MI HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Reed City MI HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Reed City MI home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Reed City MI, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Reed City MI?

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

Reed City, Michigan

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 2,425 people, 1,007 households, and 582 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,165.9 inhabitants per square mile (450.2/km2). There were 1,136 housing units at an average density of 546.2 per square mile (210.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.8% White, 1.7% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 1,007 households of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 26.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.1% were from 25 to 44; 21.4% were from 45 to 64; and 17.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.9% male and 55.1% female.

How to Choose HVAC Certificate Programs Reed City MI

Selecting the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Certificate Programs. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening 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 detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Reed City MI.

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