How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course near Collinsville Illinois
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Collinsville IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Collinsville IL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two 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 together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Collinsville IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate 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 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Collinsville IL, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Collinsville IL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Collinsville and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Collinsville IL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Collinsville IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering 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 signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors 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 broader list of alumni, which can 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Collinsville IL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Collinsville IL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Collinsville IL HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Collinsville IL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Collinsville IL, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Collinsville IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Collinsville Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,579, an increase from 24,707 in 2000. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area. It is the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower, the world's largest ketchup bottle, and is the world's horseradish capital.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, extends beyond the boundaries of the city toward the west. This prehistoric urban complex is estimated to have had a population of thousands at its peak, long before European exploration in the area. Monks Mound, the largest man-made earthwork in North America, is part of this complex.
Collinsville is located at 38°40′28″N 89°59′43″W / 38.67444°N 89.99528°W / 38.67444; -89.99528 (38.674398, -89.995402), approximately 12 miles due east of St Louis. The 90W longitude line passes through Collinsville.
Online HVAC Schools Collinsville IL
Choosing the right HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should pick an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Collinsville IL.
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