How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near West Lafayette Ohio
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near West Lafayette OH. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for West Lafayette OH HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination 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 examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs 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.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain 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, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near West Lafayette OH.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in West Lafayette OH, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many West Lafayette OH students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from West Lafayette and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the West Lafayette OH area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the West Lafayette OH area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of West Lafayette OH HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local West Lafayette OH HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local West Lafayette OH HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your West Lafayette OH home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near West Lafayette OH, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near West Lafayette OH?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the West Lafayette Ohio area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
West Lafayette, Ohio
West Lafayette was laid out in 1850 by Robert Shaw and William Wheeler. In 1855, the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad was built through the new town. The line became known as the Panhandle Route and was operated in the Pennsylvania Railroad system and currently by the Columbus and Ohio River Railroad (Ohio Central Railroad System). Tragedy struck this track on September 11, 1950 when the crack passenger train "Spirit of St. Louis" hit another train carrying 600 men of the 109th Field Artillery Battalion of the Pennsylvania National Guard. 33 men were killed. A memorial was placed near the site of the accident in 1990. A 105mm howitzer is at the memorial also, commemorating the manufacture of 105mm shells at Moore Enamelling across the tracks during WWII.
The village was once known as the "Enamel Center of the World". Before plastics were invented, steel vessels covered with a ceramic called enamelware were the norm in American homes. In 1903 the Lafayette Stamping and Enameling Co. was founded. Moore Enameling and Jones Metal also manufactured enamelware. Jones Metal remains. Another industry is Yankee Wire, manufacturer of wire screens.
The village is built upon a level plain in the Tuscarawas River valley and is surrounded by forested hills and agricultural valleys. The Ohio Central Railroad passes through the town. Immediately north of the village is U.S. Route 36. Both of these are major arteries connecting Columbus with points east.
Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Schools West Lafayette OH
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid 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 options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in West Lafayette OH.
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