How to Choose the Right HVAC Training Class near Blue Island Illinois
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Blue Island IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Blue Island IL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may 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 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 offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 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 desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, although some courses 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 may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Blue Island IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four 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 right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money 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 Blue Island IL, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Blue Island IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Blue Island and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Blue Island IL area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Blue Island IL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 field, but also that it has the network of Blue Island IL HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Blue Island IL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job 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 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Blue Island IL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Blue Island IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Blue Island IL, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows 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 Blue Island IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Blue Island Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Blue Island, Illinois
Blue Island is a city in Cook County, Illinois, located approximately 16 miles (26 km) south of Chicago's Loop. Blue Island is adjacent to the city of Chicago and shares its northern boundary with that city's Morgan Park neighborhood. The population was 23,706 at the 2010 United States Census.
Blue Island was established in the 1830s as a way station for settlers traveling on the Vincennes Trace, and the settlement prospered because it was conveniently situated a day's journey outside of Chicago. The late-nineteenth-century historian and publisher Alfred T. Andreas made the following observation regarding the appearance of the young community in History of Cook County Illinois (1884), "The location of Blue Island Village is a beautiful one. Nowhere about Chicago is there to be found a more pleasant and desirable resident locality."
Since its founding, the city has been an important commercial center in the south Cook County region, although its position in that respect has been eclipsed in recent years as other significant population centers developed around it and the region's commercial resources became spread over a wider area. In addition to its broad long-standing industrial base, the city enjoyed notable growth in the 1840s during the construction of the feeder canal (now the Calumet Sag Channel) for the Illinois and Michigan Canal and as the center of a large brick-making industry beginning in the 1850s, which eventually gave Blue Island the status of brick-making capitol of the world. Beginning in 1883, Blue Island was also host to the car shops of the Rock Island Railroad. Blue Island was home to several breweries, who used the east side of the hill to store their product before the advent of refrigeration, until the Eighteenth Amendment made these breweries illegal in 1919. A large regional hospital and two major clinics are also located in the city.
Top HVAC Trade Schools Blue Island IL
Selecting the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Top HVAC Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not 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 outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Blue Island IL.
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