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How To Become an HVAC Tech West Bridgewater MA

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near West Bridgewater Massachusetts

air conditioner condensers in West Bridgewater MAOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near West Bridgewater MA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Specialist

West Bridgewater MA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for West Bridgewater MA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple 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 examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to 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 result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs

radiator heater in West Bridgewater MA homeThere are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near West Bridgewater MA.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in West Bridgewater MA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

West Bridgewater MA student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all 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 balance of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some West Bridgewater MA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from West Bridgewater and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes

Questions to ask West Bridgewater MA HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the West Bridgewater MA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the West Bridgewater MA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program 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 receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Bridgewater MA HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local West Bridgewater MA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local West Bridgewater MA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your West Bridgewater MA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near West Bridgewater MA, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near West Bridgewater MA?

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

West Bridgewater, Massachusetts

West Bridgewater was first settled in 1651 as a part of Olde Bridgewater. The town separated from Bridgewater, Massachusetts and was officially incorporated in 1822, the second of the three communities to separate from Bridgewater (after North Bridgewater, now Brockton, and before East Bridgewater) over the span of three years. The town, like many in the area, had both agrarian and industrial roots; the Town River provided water power for milling and irrigation for farming. The town is home to the Keith House (1662), the oldest standing parsonage in the U.S. The town is also believed to be the site of the first industrial park in the U.S., now the site of the Town Park. The original Ames Shovel Works was located in the Town Park. Today, the town is mostly residential.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.7 square miles (40.6 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 2.25%, is water.[2] The town ranks 238th of 351 communities in the Commonwealth in terms of land area, and ranks nineteenth out of the twenty-seven towns in Plymouth County. West Bridgewater is bordered by Brockton to the north, East Bridgewater to the east, Bridgewater to the south, and Easton to the west, as well as a small section (less than a quarter of a mile long) of the southwestern corner that borders the town of Raynham. West Bridgewater's town center is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the center of Brockton, and is 25 miles (40 km) south of Boston.

West Bridgewater lies along the northeast edge of the Hockomock Swamp, with a large section of the southwestern corner of town being covered by the swamp and its wildlife management area. There are also several other protected areas throughout the town, as well as several parks and a large pond surrounded by a state forest. The Town River also passes through the southern portion of town, branching off into several brooks throughout the town, as does the Salisbury River in the northeast corner of town.

How To Become an HVAC Tech West Bridgewater MA

Choosing the right HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How To Become an HVAC Tech. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in West Bridgewater MA.

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