Heat and Air School Whitehall MI

How to Pick the Right HVAC School near Whitehall Michigan

air conditioner condensers in Whitehall MIOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Whitehall MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

Whitehall 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 technicians 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 criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Whitehall MI HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in 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 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Whitehall MI homeThere are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training 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 lesser amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Whitehall MI.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Whitehall MI, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Whitehall MI student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Whitehall MI students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Whitehall and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.

Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Whitehall MI HVAC training schoolsOnce you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Whitehall MI area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Whitehall MI area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program 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 get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce 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 Whitehall MI HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Whitehall MI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Whitehall MI HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Whitehall MI home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Whitehall MI, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Whitehall MI?

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

Whitehall, Michigan

Whitehall is a city in Muskegon County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,706 at the 2010 census. The city is located in the southwest corner of Whitehall Township. Montague is its neighbor.

It is located on White Lake (actually the mouth of the White River). Whitehall's recorded history began circa 1859 when Charles Mears, a noted lumber baron to the area, platted the village along with Giles B. Slocum, naming it Mears. The population continued to grow due to its strategic location for floating and distributing lumber.

White River runs between the cities of Whitehall and Montague. The White River is nearly twenty-four miles in length and passes through White Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. In 1675, Father Pere Marquette stopped in the area and learned that the Native Americans called the stream “Wabish-Sippe,” meaning the river with white clay in the water, which gave rise to the names of White River and White Lake.

Heat and Air School Whitehall MI

Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heat and Air School. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are ample 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 explore 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 if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Whitehall MI.

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