How to Select the Right HVAC School near Litchfield Michigan
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Litchfield MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to get 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. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation 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 in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Litchfield MI HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Litchfield MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. 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 background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Litchfield MI, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number 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 can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Litchfield MI students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Litchfield and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Litchfield MI area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Litchfield MI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Litchfield MI HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Litchfield MI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form 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 using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Litchfield MI HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Litchfield MI residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Litchfield MI, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Litchfield MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Litchfield Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Litchfield is a town in and former county seat of Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 8,466 at the 2010 census. The boroughs of Bantam and Litchfield are located within the town. There are also three unincorporated villages: East Litchfield, Milton, and Northfield.
During the American Revolutionary War several prominent Loyalists were held prisoner in the town, including William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, and David Mathews, Mayor of New York City.
Located southwest of Torrington, Litchfield also includes part of Bantam Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 56.8 square miles (147.1 km²), of which, 56.1 square miles (145.2 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km²) of it (1.3%) is water.
Schooling For HVAC Litchfield MI
Picking the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schooling For HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are sufficient hands-on 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Litchfield MI.
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