How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Braceville IL

How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Braceville Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Braceville ILNow that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Braceville IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to look into 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Specialist

Braceville IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Braceville IL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some 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 proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

radiator heater in Braceville IL homeThere are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, however 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 programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Braceville IL.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees include 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 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 ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Braceville IL, subsequently 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 Schools Online

Braceville IL student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Braceville IL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Braceville and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. 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 more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Braceville IL HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Braceville IL area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely 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.  A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Braceville IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Braceville IL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Braceville IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Braceville IL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Braceville IL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Braceville IL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Braceville IL?

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

Braceville, Illinois

Braceville was founded under the name "Sulphur Springs" by Reverend L. S. Robbins in 1834. In 1848, after Robbin's death, the town elected its first official supervisor, B. R. Dowd, who changed the name to Braceville after his home town of Braceville, Ohio. When coal was discovered in the region, residents became interested in the mining industry. However, no mines have ever been opened, and gradually, the town shifted its focus on other industries. The population has fluctuated over time, but is now growing at a steady rate.[3]

Braceville is located at 41°13′35″N 88°15′55″W / 41.22639°N 88.26528°W / 41.22639; -88.26528 (41.226340, -88.265141).[4] According to the 2010 census, Braceville has a total area of 2.874 square miles (7.44 km2), of which 2.81 square miles (7.28 km2) (or 97.77%) is land and 0.064 square miles (0.17 km2) (or 2.23%) is water.[5]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 792 people, 284 households, and 220 families residing in the village. The population density was 601.8 people per square mile (231.7/km²). There were 300 housing units at an average density of 228.0 per square mile (87.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.86% White, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Braceville IL

Finding the right HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick 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 factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Braceville IL.

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