How to Find the Right HVAC School near Harvard Illinois
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Harvard IL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Harvard IL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some 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 competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory 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.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade 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 completed in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Harvard IL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Harvard IL, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Harvard IL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Harvard and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Harvard IL area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Harvard IL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Harvard IL HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Harvard IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local 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 using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Harvard IL HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Harvard IL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Harvard IL, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Harvard IL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Harvard Illinois area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Harvard is a city located in McHenry County, Illinois, approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. The population was 9,447 at the 2010 census. The city is 63 miles (101 km) from the Chicago Loop, and it is the last stop on the Union Pacific/Northwest Line.
The original owners of the land which came to be Harvard, Illinois, were Abram Carmack and Jacob Davis, who obtained it from the government in 1845 and sold it to Gilbert Brainard shortly afterward. Upon Gilbert Brainard's death, the land was purchased by Amos Page, Otis Eastman, and Eldridge G. Ayer. These three men planned the layout of the town and named it "Harvard" in honor of Harvard, Massachusetts. The plat was signed by Judge J. M. Strode in Woodstock, Illinois, on November 25, 1856. Shortly afterward Amos Page and Otis Eastman sold their shares of the property to Eldridge G. Ayers. Mr.Ayers's involvement came out of his business interest in the extension of the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company railroad west from Cary, toward Janesville, Wisconsin. The newly platted town of Harvard was located directly on the route of the extension, and in April 1856 the railroad accepted Ayers's offer of land to build a station in the town.
In 1856 Mr. Wesley Diggins built a hotel for Mr. H. C. Blackman, who sold it to Mr. Ayer in 1859. Mr. Ayer built additional floors to raise it to a height of three stories and added a wing and a veranda. During the Civil War, sick and wounded soldiers passing through Harvard were lodged at the hotel with no charge for their meals. In 1925 the Ayer Hotel was purchased by Mr. S. J. Noble and renamed the Noble Hotel. When he could not maintain mortgage payments it was purchased in 1937 by Mr. P. G. Allen and renamed the Hub Hotel. The building was destroyed in a fire on December 22, 1960.
Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training Harvard IL
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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 evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Harvard IL.
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