How to Find the Right HVAC Training Program near Solomons Maryland
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Solomons MD. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection 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 evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to research 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 select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Solomons MD HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction 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 minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Solomons MD.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Solomons MD, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Solomons MD students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Solomons and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Solomons MD area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Solomons MD area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may 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. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Solomons MD HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Solomons MD HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Solomons MD HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Solomons MD residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Solomons MD, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Solomons MD?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Solomons Maryland area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Solomons, also known as Solomons Island, is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Calvert County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,368 at the 2010 census, up from 1,536 at the 2000 census. Solomons is a popular weekend destination spot in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.
Solomons is located at the southern tip of Calvert County at 38°20′11″N 76°27′51″W / 38.33639°N 76.46417°W / 38.33639; -76.46417 (38.336431, −76.464102). It includes Solomons Island and mainland on the north side of the mouth of Patuxent River, where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. It is just across from the U.S. Patuxent River Naval Air Station (on the south side of the mouth of the Patuxent River).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Solomons CDP has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), of which 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 14.76%, is water, consisting mainly of Back Creek, a tidal inlet that extends north from the Patuxent River.
Best HVAC School Solomons MD
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Best HVAC School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Solomons MD.
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