How to Pick the Right HVAC Program near Spring Arbor Michigan
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Spring Arbor MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Spring Arbor MI HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. 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 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs 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 can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Spring Arbor MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, many degrees include 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 conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Spring Arbor MI, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many 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 may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Spring Arbor MI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Spring Arbor and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Spring Arbor MI area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Spring Arbor MI area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as 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. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Spring Arbor MI HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of 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 within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Spring Arbor MI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Spring Arbor MI HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Spring Arbor MI home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized 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 observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Spring Arbor MI, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Spring Arbor MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Spring Arbor Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Spring Arbor University
Developing from an earlier academy and junior college, in 1963 it established a four-year curriculum. Attaining university status in 1994, it is the second-largest evangelical Christian university in Michigan. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Spring Arbor University has developed in the late 20th century from a seminary founded in 1873 by leaders of the Free Methodist Church, particularly Edward Payson Hart. First Spring Arbor Seminary was established as a private academy for elementary and secondary grades. Located near the site of a former Potawatomi Indian village, the academy was built on property that formerly belonged to Central Michigan College (later renamed as Hillsdale College after moving to that city).
In 1923, the board of trustees voted to add a junior college to the academy. In 1929, the school was renamed as Spring Arbor Seminary and Junior College. Primary and intermediate classes were discontinued in 1930.
Air Conditioning Courses Spring Arbor MI
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Courses. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person 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, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Spring Arbor MI.
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