How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Class near Arlington Heights Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Arlington Heights IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Arlington Heights IL HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination 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 several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Arlington Heights IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Arlington Heights IL, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Arlington Heights IL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Arlington Heights and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Arlington Heights IL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Arlington Heights IL 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Arlington Heights IL HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Arlington Heights IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Arlington Heights IL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Arlington Heights IL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Arlington Heights IL, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure 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, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Arlington Heights IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Arlington Heights Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Arlington Heights is a village in Cook County in the U.S. state of Illinois. A suburb of Chicago, it lies about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the city's downtown. The population was 75,101 at the 2010 census. It is the most populous community in the United States that is incorporated as a "village", although it is not far ahead of its nearby Illinois neighboring villages of Schaumburg and adjacent Palatine.
Arlington Heights is known for Arlington Park Race Track, home of the Arlington Million, a Breeders' Cup qualifying event; it also hosted the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in 2002. The village is also home to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, which has one of the largest collections in the state.
Arlington Heights lies mostly in the western part of Wheeling Township, with territory in adjacent Elk Grove and Palatine townships, in an area originally notable for the absence of groves and trees. The General Land Office began selling land here in 1835. In 1853, William Dunton, originally from Oswego, New York, persuaded the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad to make a stop here, and laid out a town called Dunton. Dunton Avenue, named after William Dunton, is the village's base line that splits addresses east and west, with Campbell Street splitting north and south.
Air Conditioning Program Arlington Heights IL
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Program. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are sufficient practical 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Arlington Heights IL.
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