How to Select the Right HVAC Program near Savage Maryland
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Savage MD. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Savage MD HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some 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 proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training 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 minimum period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Savage MD.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Savage MD, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also sponsor 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 attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Savage MD students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Savage and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Savage MD area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Savage MD area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Savage MD HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Savage MD HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Savage MD HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Savage MD residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Savage MD, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Savage MD?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Savage Maryland area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Savage is an unincorporated community and census-designated place located in Howard County, Maryland, about 18 miles (29 km) south of Baltimore and 21 miles (34 km) north of Washington, D.C. It is situated close to the city of Laurel and to the planned community of Columbia. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 7,054. The former mill town is a registered historic place, and has many original buildings preserved within and around the Savage Mill Historic District.
The lands of Savage were first settled around 1650. Colonel Henry Ridgley surveyed the land around Savage Mill and nearby Annapolis Junction in 1685, naming the tract "Ridgely's Forrest". Joseph White was the grandson of Peregrine White, the first child born of the Mayflower expedition. In 1734, he opened a gristmill on land patented as "Whites Fortune" and "Mill Land". The parcels were consolidated to become "Whites Contrivance".
A rich vein of American industrial history lies in Savage. When the textile industry was in its heyday, Savage was an important manufacturing center, its mills harnessing the water power on the falls of the Little and Middle Patuxent rivers.
Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning Savage MD
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Savage MD.
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