How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Training Program near Benton Illinois
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Benton IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Benton IL HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient 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 acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned 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 as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Benton IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Benton IL, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Benton IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Benton and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Benton IL area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Benton IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Benton IL HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Benton IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Benton IL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Benton IL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton IL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Benton IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Benton Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Benton, the county seat of Franklin County, took its name from the prominent senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858). The village of Benton was organized in 1841 on 20 acres (81,000 m2) of property donated by John Ewing and Walter S. Akin. In 1902 the village became a city, and incorporated under the mayor/commissioner form of government.
Franklin County was platted in 1818, the year Illinois became a state, at twice its current size. It included the territory that is now Williamson County. In 1839 the county was split roughly in half and the county seat was permanently fixed "at a hill at the south end of Rowling's Prairie", the site of the future city of Benton.
The Franklin County Courthouse sits in the center of the Public Square. It is the third courthouse that has served the people of Franklin County. The Italianate building was constructed in 1874-75 at a cost of $27,500.00
HVAC Certification Courses Online Benton IL
Picking the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Certification Courses Online. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art 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 current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Benton IL.
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