How to Find the Right HVAC School near Eielson Afb Alaska
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Eielson Afb AK. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. 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 investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Eielson Afb AK HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the important 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. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three 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 necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Eielson Afb AK.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Eielson Afb AK, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number 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 participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Eielson Afb AK students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Eielson Afb and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job 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 active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Eielson Afb AK area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Eielson Afb AK area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at 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 could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Eielson Afb AK HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Eielson Afb AK HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eielson Afb AK HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Eielson Afb AK home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher 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 a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure 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 Eielson Afb AK, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Eielson Afb AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Eielson Afb Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson AFB was named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. The 354 FW is currently commanded by Col. Benjamin W. Bishop. Bishop is a Command Pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, including over 340 combat hours. He's flown the T-37, T-38, F-15E, F-35A, and F-16 C/D aircraft. He is responsible for providing realistic combat adversary training to United States and allied forces in air, space, and information operations via RED FLAG-Alaska, Pacific Air Forces’ premier multinational large-force training exercise, and through PACAF's only Aggressor Squadron. He also directs the preparation and deployment of Airmen in support of global operations, enables the staging of forces through Eielson, and integrates air component capabilities into the US Army's I Corps through the 1st Air Support Operations Group. Additionally, Colonel Bishop is overseeing preparations for the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base.
HVAC Trade Schools Near Me Eielson Afb AK
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Trade Schools Near Me. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Eielson Afb AK.
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