Air Conditioning Training Shepherd MI

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Shepherd Michigan

air conditioner condensers in Shepherd MINow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Shepherd MI. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Professional

Shepherd MI HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Shepherd MI HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Shepherd MI homeThere are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Shepherd MI.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, along with 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 getting some experience in the field in Shepherd MI, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Classes

Shepherd MI student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also provide 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 online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Shepherd MI students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Shepherd and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Shepherd MI HVAC training schoolsAfter you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Shepherd MI area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC trade schools in the Shepherd MI area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Shepherd MI HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Shepherd MI HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Shepherd MI HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Shepherd MI home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Shepherd 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 allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Shepherd MI?

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

Shepherd, Michigan

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,515 people, 640 households, and 412 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,561.9 inhabitants per square mile (603.1/km2). There were 699 housing units at an average density of 720.6 per square mile (278.2/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 94.2% White, 0.5% African American, 1.3% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.

There were 640 households of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.6% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the village was 37.5 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 46.7% male and 53.3% female.

Air Conditioning Training Shepherd MI

Picking the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Training. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Shepherd MI.

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