How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Belvidere Illinois
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Belvidere IL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Belvidere IL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Belvidere IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. 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 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Belvidere IL, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide 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 via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Belvidere IL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Belvidere and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Belvidere IL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Belvidere IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Belvidere IL HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Belvidere IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Belvidere IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Belvidere IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging 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 students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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 reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Belvidere IL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Belvidere IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Belvidere Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Belvidere /ˈbɛlvɪdɪər/ is a city in Boone County, Illinois, United States. The population was 25,585 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Boone County. Belvidere is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Belvidere is located at 42°15′17″N 88°50′39″W / 42.25472°N 88.84417°W / 42.25472; -88.84417 (42.254758, -88.844093), and sits at an altitude that is approximately 800 feet (240 m) above sea level. Located in north central Illinois, Belvidere is approximately 75 miles (121 km) northwest of the downtown of Chicago, and approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of Rockford. Belvidere is divided by the Kishwaukee River.
According to the 2010 census, Belvidere has a total area of 12.312 square miles (31.89 km2), of which 12.08 square miles (31.29 km2) (or 98.12%) is land and 0.232 square miles (0.60 km2) (or 1.88%) is water. Belvidere is located in north central Illinois and is 75 miles from downtown Chicago on Routes 20, 76 and the Northern Illinois Toll road, with the Kishwaukee River dividing the town. Belvidere is an industrial community surrounded by prosperous farms. It is the County Seat with an estimated 2006 county population of over 52,000. The altitude is 800 feet above sea level, average temperatures are: 73 degrees F in the summer; 24 degrees F in the winter, and the average rainfall is 33.3 inches, and the average annual snowfall is 35.3 inches. 
HVAC Courses Near Me Belvidere IL
Selecting the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Courses Near Me. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Belvidere IL.
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