How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling School near Westwego Louisiana
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Westwego LA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, 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 benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Westwego LA HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can 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 required 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 made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Westwego LA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, 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 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.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Westwego LA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Westwego LA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Westwego and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Westwego LA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Westwego LA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify 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 make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Westwego LA HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Westwego LA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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 specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Westwego LA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Westwego LA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Westwego LA, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Westwego LA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Westwego Louisiana area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km²), of which 3.1 square miles (8.3 km²) is land and 0.5 square mile (1.0 km²) (10.64%) is water.
One story states generally that Westwego was so named because it was a major crossing point on the Mississippi river during the great westward movement of the late 19th century. When travelers were asked their destination, they would often reply "west we go". Another more specific tale, recounted in John Churchill Chase's Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children is that the name was the specific outcome of an 1871 meeting of a railroad board of directors in New York, where planning was undertaken to use the site as an eastern terminus ("...west we go from there"). There has been further speculation that this use of "Westwego" as a place name may have been influenced by the board members' familiarity with the name of Oswego, New York.
The area of Westwego, Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before Europeans settled here. These indigenous people created huge shells middens that can still be seen in the vicinity today. The French first developed the area in 1719 when French Minister of State LeBlanc started a plantation and a port along the Mississippi River. The port became an important site in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The estate was later owned by the Zeringue family, who turned it into bustling sugar plantation, known as Seven Oaks. Planter Camille Zeringue built a canal at the plantation that played a prominent role in the community's history for decades. Other antebellum plantations in the area included the Whitehouse Plantation, Magnolia Lane, and the LaBranche Plantation among others. After Camille Zeringue's death, Seven Oaks was owned by Pablo Sala, who divided the property along the canal into lots, which he sold for $40 each. Many of these lots were purchased by displaced hurricane victims from Cheniere Caminada whose homes were destroyed in the great unnamed 1893 storm. With the addition of these families, who were mostly fisherman and trappers, the community of Salaville was born.
Heating and Cooling Classes Online Westwego LA
Picking the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Cooling Classes Online. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Westwego LA.
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