How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Lowell Michigan
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Lowell MI. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Lowell MI HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Lowell MI.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as 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 appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Lowell MI, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Lowell MI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Lowell and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lowell MI area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lowell MI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lowell MI HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Lowell MI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lowell MI HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Lowell MI home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lowell MI, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Lowell MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lowell Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lowell is a city in Kent County of the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 3,783 at the 2010 census. The city is in the northern portion of Lowell Township, but is politically independent. Lowell's economy is a mix of manufacturing, restaurants and locally owned businesses.
Lowell was founded as a trading post on the south bank of the Grand River in 1831 by Daniel Marsac. In 1847, he purchased land on the north side of the river and platted it as "Dansville". In 1851, a post office was established there named "Lowell" after the township. The community was replatted in 1854 and renamed after the post office. It incorporated as a village in 1861. Lowell is the home of a retired showboat.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,783 people, 1,457 households, and 962 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,313.5 inhabitants per square mile (507.1/km2). There were 1,581 housing units at an average density of 549.0 per square mile (212.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.1% White, 1.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.
Air Conditioner Schools Lowell MI
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Lowell MI.
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