How to Choose the Right HVAC Training Class near Petersburg Alaska
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Petersburg AK. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Petersburg AK HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field 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 competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Petersburg AK.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, some 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Petersburg AK, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Petersburg AK students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Petersburg and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Petersburg AK area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Petersburg AK area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Petersburg AK HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along 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 companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Petersburg AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Petersburg AK HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Petersburg AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Petersburg AK, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Petersburg AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Petersburg Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Petersburg (Tlingit: Gantiyaakw Séedi "Steamboat Channel") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Petersburg Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 2,948 at the 2010 census, down from 3,224 in 2000.
The borough encompasses Petersburg and Kupreanof, plus mostly uninhabited areas stretching to the Canadian–American border and the southern boundary of the City and Borough of Juneau. While the city of Petersburg ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity (the borough assembly created a service area to assume operation of the former city's services), the tiny city of Kupreanof remains separate within the borough.
Tlingits from Kupreanof Island had long used a summer fish camp at the north end of Mitkof Island. Earlier cultures of indigenous people also used the island: remnants of fish traps and some petroglyphs have been carbon-dated back some 1,000 years.
How to Choose HVAC Online Training Schools Petersburg AK
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Online Training Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices 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 Petersburg AK.
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