How to Choose HVAC Vocational Schools Bradley IL

How to Find the Right HVAC Training Program near Bradley Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Bradley ILNow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Bradley IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary 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 completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Pro

Bradley IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Bradley IL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

radiator heater in Bradley IL homeThere are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Bradley IL.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Bradley IL, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Bradley IL student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Bradley IL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Bradley and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.

Questions For HVAC Schools

Questions to ask Bradley IL HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Bradley IL area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Bradley IL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Bradley IL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Bradley IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Bradley IL HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bradley IL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bradley IL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make 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, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Bradley IL?

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

Bradley, Illinois

Bradley (formerly North Kankakee) is a village in Kankakee County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb of the City of Kankakee. The population was 12,784 at the 2000 census, 15,070 in 2009, and 15,871 in 2012.

Bradley is a principal city of the Kankakee–Bradley Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kankakee County. The county is also part of the larger Chicago–Naperville–Michigan City, IL-IN-WI Combined Statistical Area.

In 1891, North Kankakee was established when the David Bradley Plow Works established a factory, and in recognition of this, in 1895, the town changed its name to Bradley City (later Bradley). Bradley was mostly a blue collar town with the Kroehler Furniture factory and the Roper Corporation factory (maker of kitchen ranges and ovens; part of their operations were in the building that David Bradley once occupied) being the major employers. In the 1980s, as with the rest of the Midwest, these factories closed, and after their closures, parts of those factories burned to the ground. However, by the end of the decade, things changed. In 1989, a new shopping center called Bradley Square was built with Wal-Mart as the first tenant, and more shops followed. The brightest spot in the village's history came on August 1, 1990, when Northfield Square Mall opened. Bradley was poised to attract business. Since that time, the village has been growing. Now, many businesses inhabit the area.

How to Choose HVAC Vocational Schools Bradley IL

Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Vocational Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Bradley IL.

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