How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Pittsfield Vermont
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Pittsfield VT. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Pittsfield VT HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically 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 applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Pittsfield VT.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level 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 provides a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require 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.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Pittsfield VT, later going back to obtain 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 Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Pittsfield VT students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Pittsfield and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Pittsfield VT area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Pittsfield VT area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates 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, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Pittsfield VT HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together 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 trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Pittsfield VT HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school 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 specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Pittsfield VT HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Pittsfield VT home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pittsfield VT, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Pittsfield VT?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Pittsfield Vermont area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Granted on November 8, 1780, the town was chartered on July 29, 1781, to Samuel Wilcox and 129 others. Pittsfield was named after Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which itself had been named in honor of William Pitt. It was first settled in 1786. The town proved suitable for grazing livestock because of its mountainous terrain. Indeed, in the 19th-century, humorists attributed the invention of the one-legged milking stool to Pittsfield, "...as a means of conquering a stern difficulty."
The Farmhouse pictured in this 1915 Postcard to the left still stands and was converted in 1960 to The Fleur De Lis Lodge, for travelers and skiers to stay. Six rooms remain in the original farmhouse, while seven more rooms were added to the new section above the great room.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.0 square miles (52 km2), all land. Set among the Green Mountains, Pittsfield is drained by the Tweed River, a tributary of the White River.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Schools Pittsfield VT
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling vocational 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 lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 professional in Pittsfield VT.
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