How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training near Vintondale Pennsylvania
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Vintondale PA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors 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 other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Vintondale PA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Vintondale PA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Vintondale PA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Vintondale PA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Vintondale and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Vintondale PA area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Vintondale PA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of Vintondale PA HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Vintondale PA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Vintondale PA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Vintondale PA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Vintondale PA, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Vintondale PA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Vintondale Pennsylvania area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Vintondale is located on the western border of Cambria County at 40°28′42″N 78°54′51″W / 40.47833°N 78.91417°W / 40.47833; -78.91417 (40.478370, -78.914097), along the South Branch of Blacklick Creek. It is at the approximate midpoint of the Ghost Town Trail, a rail trail extending through Cambria and Indiana counties.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Vintondale has a total area of 0.49 square miles (1.26 km2), of which 0.47 square miles (1.22 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 3.49%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 528 people, 210 households, and 145 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,143.7 people per square mile (443.2/km²). There were 231 housing units at an average density of 500.4 per square mile (193.9/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 100.00% White. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.
Becoming an HVAC Technician Vintondale PA
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Becoming an HVAC Technician. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Vintondale PA.
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