How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Elmendorf Afb Alaska
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Elmendorf Afb AK. 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 choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional 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 professionals specialize in 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, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Elmendorf Afb AK HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train 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 several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Elmendorf Afb AK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Elmendorf Afb AK, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Elmendorf Afb AK students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Elmendorf Afb and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Elmendorf Afb AK area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Elmendorf Afb AK area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 broader list of alumni, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Elmendorf Afb AK HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Elmendorf Afb AK HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Elmendorf Afb AK HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Elmendorf Afb AK home. Remember 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Elmendorf Afb AK, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Elmendorf Afb AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Elmendorf Afb Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Eareckson Air Station
The airport was closed as an active Air Force Station on 1 July 1994. However, it is still owned by the USAF and is operated by the USAF 611th Air Support Squadron at Elmendorf AFB for refueling purposes. It also serves as a diversion airport for civilian aircraft. The base previously hosted the AN/FPS-17 and AN/FPS-80 radars and since 1977 the more powerful AN/FPS-108 COBRA DANE phased-array radar.
Eareckson Air Station is located on the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian islands near the larger island of Attu, and is located approximately 1500 miles southwest of Anchorage. The airport lies on the south side of the 2-mile by 4-mile island and is 98 feet above mean sea level.
Shemya Island has been the scene of two major earthquakes. The 1965 Rat Islands earthquake, measuring 8.7 on the moment magnitude scale, occurred on 3 February. It was followed by severe aftershocks and a tsunami, but damage was limited to cracks in the taxiways. The 1975 Near Islands earthquake, measuring 7.6 (surface wave magnitude), occurred on 1 February. A high degree of damage occurred to the runways and hangars and communications were disrupted for a short time.
HVAC Certification Courses Online Elmendorf Afb AK
Enrolling in the right HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Certification Courses Online. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out 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 appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Elmendorf Afb AK.
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