Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning Courses Beardstown IL

How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Beardstown Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Beardstown ILOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Beardstown IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Specialist

Beardstown IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Beardstown IL HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative 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 pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes

radiator heater in Beardstown IL homeThere are several choices offered for HVAC training 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 least period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Beardstown IL.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Beardstown IL, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Courses Online

Beardstown IL student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Beardstown IL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Beardstown and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of 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, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Beardstown IL HVAC training schoolsWhen you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, 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 Beardstown IL area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Beardstown IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Beardstown IL HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Beardstown IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies 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 up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Beardstown IL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Beardstown IL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Beardstown IL, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. 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 emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Beardstown IL?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Beardstown Illinois area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Beardstown, Illinois

According to the 2010 census, Beardstown has a total area of 3.627 square miles (9.39 km2), of which 3.57 square miles (9.25 km2) (or 98.43%) is land and 0.057 square miles (0.15 km2) (or 1.57%) is water.[4]

Beardstown is located on the Illinois River, which plays an important role in the economy and history of the community, and is the site of two grain terminals where farm products are transferred to barges for transport. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation along the river contribute to the local economy.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 5,766 people, 2,172 households, and 1,437 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,692.1 people per square mile (652.9/km²). There were 2,339 housing units at an average density of 686.4 per square mile (264.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.76% White, 0.87% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.01% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.90% of the population.

Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning Courses Beardstown IL

Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning Courses. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Beardstown IL.

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