How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Darien Illinois
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Darien IL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Darien IL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, though some programs 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 training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Darien IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with 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 acquiring some experience in the trade in Darien IL, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Darien IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Darien and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Darien IL area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Darien IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Darien IL HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Darien IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Darien IL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Darien IL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm 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 in the evening or on weekends near Darien IL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Darien IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Darien Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The first people to settle in Darien came from New England via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Among the first to arrive was the Andres Neiman family. They settled along an old stagecoach line in 1835. Andres served as Justice of the Peace, Town Clerk, Assessor, Dog Catcher, and County Commissioner. He also established the Andres Inn, near what is currently the intersection of Lemont Road and I-55; the inn served the 15 stagecoaches that traveled the stagecoach line, and included a tavern and a post office. Andres named the area "Cass."
Andres and Father Beggs built the First Cass Church, which was a log cabin design. The church's cemetery, located west of where the church stood (west of Bailey Road and north of Frontage Road), can still be seen today. The church was also used as a school house.
Elisha and Eliza Smart settled in Darien in 1838 with their 10 children. Elisha joined the Gold Rush and left for California, returning seven years later as a very rich man. He bought more land and donated it, on which a new Cass Church was built in 1870.
Air Conditioning Repair School Darien IL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Repair School. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Darien IL.
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