Becoming an HVAC Technician West Bend IA

How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certificate Program near West Bend Iowa

air conditioner condensers in West Bend IANow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near West Bend IA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close 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 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Contractor

West Bend IA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for West Bend IA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned 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. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with 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 technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree Classes

radiator heater in West Bend IA homeThere are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction 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 lesser period of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train 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 advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near West Bend IA.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include 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 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in West Bend IA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Classes Online

West Bend IA student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some West Bend IA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from West Bend and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses

Questions to ask West Bend IA HVAC training schoolsOnce you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the West Bend IA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC trade schools in the West Bend IA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Bend IA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local West Bend IA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the campus 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 tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local West Bend IA HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your West Bend IA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near West Bend IA, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near West Bend IA?

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

West Bend, Iowa

West Bend had its start in the early 1880s by the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway through that territory. It was originally called Ives after the president of the railroad, but the townspeople had it changed to West Bend from the bend in the river. West Bend (aka Ives) was the first town in Palo Alto County. A special five cent tax to build a railroad station was promised to the railroad if they would create a stop when the railroad was built. The railroad did that placing the line and the new station in West Bend.[5]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 785 people, 360 households, and 213 families residing in the city. The population density was 882.0 inhabitants per square mile (340.5/km2). There were 396 housing units at an average density of 444.9 per square mile (171.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.1% White, 0.1% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 360 households of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.71.

Becoming an HVAC Technician West Bend IA

Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Becoming an HVAC Technician. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out 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, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 contractor in West Bend IA.

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