How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Sparks Glencoe Maryland
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Sparks Glencoe MD. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Sparks Glencoe MD HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many 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 may be earned 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 three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade 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 achieved in just six months, though some programs 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 programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Sparks Glencoe MD.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Sparks Glencoe MD, subsequently 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 Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some 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 alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Sparks Glencoe MD students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Sparks Glencoe and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Sparks Glencoe MD area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Sparks Glencoe MD area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school 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 obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high 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 can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Sparks Glencoe MD HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Sparks Glencoe MD HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Sparks Glencoe MD HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sparks Glencoe MD home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult 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 teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sparks Glencoe MD, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Sparks Glencoe MD?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Sparks Glencoe Maryland area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Sparks is an unincorporated community that is located in Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. It is situated approximately 20 miles (32 km) north of Baltimore, Maryland and is considered to be a suburb of the City of Baltimore. The Gunpowder River runs through Sparks.
The popular North Central Railroad ("NCR") Hike-Bike Trail runs through Sparks along the basin of the Gunpowder Falls (a.k.a. the Gunpowder River). The town's ZIP Code is 21152 and it is frequently accessed at Exit 24, Belfast Road, along Interstate 83, an Interstate Highway that runs from Baltimore, Maryland to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Although Sparks is unincorporated and has no official town limits, the area that is usually considered to constitute Sparks runs from several miles west of I-83 to Carroll Road to the East, and from north of Hunt Valley/Cockeysville along York Road and I-83 to Hereford, Maryland. According to the 2010 US Census, 5,094 people live in the Sparks area. Glencoe, Maryland is a smaller community that is largely surrounded by Sparks and the area is sometimes collectively known as "Sparks Glencoe, Maryland."
In 1835, the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad constructed a track through Baltimore County which included a siding and switch near a large tract of land owned by the Sparks family. Railroad officials gave the name Sparks to the switch, and soon area residents began to refer to the location as "Sparks' Switch." Abraham Lincoln's body was carried through Sparks on the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad from Washington, D.C. on its way to burial in Illinois following his assassination in 1865.
HVAC Hands On Training Sparks Glencoe MD
Selecting the right HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Hands On Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Sparks Glencoe MD.
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