How to Select the Right HVAC Degree Program near Wakefield Michigan
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Wakefield MI. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things 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. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Wakefield MI HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Wakefield MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong 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 cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Wakefield MI, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Wakefield MI students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Wakefield and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Wakefield MI area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Wakefield 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 pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Wakefield MI HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Wakefield MI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Wakefield MI HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Wakefield MI home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Wakefield MI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Wakefield MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Wakefield Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Wakefield was dubbed the "Merrie City" in the Middle Ages and in 1538 John Leland described it as, "a very quick market town and meately large; well served of fish and flesh both from sea and by rivers ... so that all vitaile is very good and chepe there. A right honest man shall fare well for 2d. a meal. ... There be plenti of se coal in the quarters about Wakefield".[nb 1]
The Battle of Wakefield took place in the Wars of the Roses and it was a Royalist stronghold in the Civil War. Wakefield became an important market town and centre for wool, exploiting its position on the navigable River Calder to become an inland port.
In the 18th century, Wakefield traded in corn, coal mining and textiles and in 1888 its parish church acquired cathedral status. It became the county town of the West Riding of Yorkshire and was the seat of the West Riding County Council from 1889 until 1974, when the county and council were abolished, and of the West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council from 1974 until its dissolution in 1986.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Courses Wakefield MI
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Wakefield MI.
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