How to Enroll In the Right HVAC College near Stillwater Oklahoma
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Stillwater OK. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate 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 explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Stillwater OK HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Stillwater OK.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering 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 goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Stillwater OK, subsequently returning to obtain 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 Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require 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 may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Stillwater OK students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Stillwater and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling 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 limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Stillwater OK area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Stillwater OK area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing 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 signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Stillwater OK HVAC employers to help students acquire 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 schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Stillwater OK HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Stillwater OK HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Stillwater OK home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stillwater OK, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Stillwater OK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Stillwater Oklahoma area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Stillwater is a city in northeast Oklahoma at the intersection of US-177 and State Highway 51. It is the county seat of Payne County, Oklahoma, United States. As of 2012, the city population was estimated to be 46,560, making it the tenth largest city in Oklahoma. Stillwater is the principal city of the Stillwater Micropolitan Statistical Area which had a population of 78,399 according to the 2012 census estimate. Stillwater was part of the first Oklahoma Land Run held on April 22, 1889 when the Unassigned Lands were opened for settlement and became the core of the new Oklahoma Territory. The city charter was adopted on August 24, 1889. Stillwater is home to the main campus of Oklahoma State University as well as Northern Oklahoma College - Stillwater, Meridian Technology Center, and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
Stillwater has a diverse economy with a foundation in aerospace, agribusiness, biotechnology, optoelectronics, printing and publishing, and software and standard manufacturing. The city operates under a council-manager government system. The city's largest employer is Oklahoma State University. It was one of the 100 Best Places to Live in 2010, according to CNN Money Magazine.
The north-central region of Oklahoma became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1832, author and traveler Washington Irving provided the first recorded description of the area around Stillwater in his book A Tour on the Prairies. He wrote of “a glorious prairie spreading out beneath the golden beams of an autumnal sun. The deep and frequent traces of buffalo, showed it to be a one of their favorite grazing grounds.”
Top HVAC Training Classes Stillwater OK
Selecting the right HVAC school 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 Top HVAC Training Classes. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Stillwater OK.
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