Schools for HVAC Decatur IL

How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Decatur Illinois

air conditioner condensers in Decatur ILOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Decatur IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Professional

Decatur IL HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Decatur IL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree Classes

radiator heater in Decatur IL homeThere are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished 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 related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Decatur IL.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred 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 provides a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Decatur IL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Courses

Decatur IL student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Decatur IL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Decatur and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.

Questions For HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Decatur IL HVAC training schoolsOnce you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Decatur IL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. 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 Decatur IL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors 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 list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Decatur IL HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Decatur IL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Decatur IL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Decatur IL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur IL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Decatur IL?

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

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2017, the city's estimated population was 72,174.[3]

The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters[4] of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.

Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228).[5] Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.

Schools for HVAC Decatur IL

Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schools for HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Decatur IL.

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