How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Tazewell Virginia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Tazewell VA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Tazewell VA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some 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 makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify 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 in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Tazewell VA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Tazewell VA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Tazewell VA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Tazewell and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Tazewell VA area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Tazewell VA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Tazewell VA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Tazewell VA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Tazewell VA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Tazewell VA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tazewell VA, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Tazewell VA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Tazewell Virginia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Tazewell is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, United States. The population was 4,627 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,578. It is the county seat of Tazewell County.
Named Jeffersonville until 1892, Tazewell was developed near the headwaters of the Clinch River. It is one of the smallest towns in the United States to have once operated a street car. It is in a county that underwent rapid growth in population at the end of the 19th century during the period of the coal and iron boom, as resources of the Pocahontas Fields were exploited.
The Big Crab Orchard Site, Bull Thistle Cave Archeological Site, Burke's Garden Rural Historic District, Chimney Rock Farm, Tazewell Historic District, George Oscar Thompson House (now demolished), and James Wynn House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
HVAC Hands On Training Tazewell VA
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Hands On Training. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person 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 if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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 Tazewell VA.
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