How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling School near Barrow Alaska
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Barrow AK. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Barrow AK HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few 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 competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, 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 intend to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Barrow AK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Barrow AK, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some 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 participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Barrow AK students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Barrow and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Barrow AK area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Barrow AK area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 additionally that it has the network of Barrow AK HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Barrow AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Barrow AK HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Barrow AK home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Barrow AK, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Barrow AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Barrow Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Utqiagvik (Inupiaq: Utqiaġvik, IPA: [utqe.ɑʁvik], English: /ˌʊtkiˈɑːvɪk/ UUT-kee-AH-vik), officially the City of Utqiaġvik[A], formerly known as Barrow (/ˈbæroʊ/), is the largest city and the borough seat of the North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska and is located north of the Arctic Circle. It is one of the northernmost public communities in the world and is the northernmost city in the United States. Nearby Point Barrow is the country's northernmost point. Utqiagvik's population was 4,581 at the 2000 census and 4,212 at the 2010 census.
The location has been home to the Iñupiat, an indigenous Inuit ethnic group, for more than 1,500 years. The city's native name, Utqiaġvik, refers to a place for gathering wild roots. It is derived from the Iñupiat word utqiq, also used for "potato". The name was first recorded in 1853 as "Ot-ki-a-wing" by Commander Rochfort Maguire, Royal Navy. John Simpson's native map dated 1855, records the name "Otkiawik," which was misprinted on the subsequent British Admiralty Chart as "Otkiovik."
The name Barrow was derived from Point Barrow, and was originally a general designation, because non-native Alaskan residents found it easier to pronounce than the Inupiat name. A post office established in 1901 helped the name "Barrow" to become dominant. Point Barrow was named after Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty by explorer Frederick William Beechey in 1825.
Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning Courses Barrow AK
Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Barrow AK.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Alaska