How to Pick the Right HVAC School near Midland Michigan
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Midland MI. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation 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 examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Midland MI HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several 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 recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed 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 made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Midland MI.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Midland MI, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor 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 on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Midland MI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Midland and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Midland MI area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Midland MI area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Midland MI HVAC employers to assist grads secure 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 vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Midland MI HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment 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, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Midland MI HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Midland MI home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see 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. Finally, 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. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Midland MI, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Midland MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Midland Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Midland is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan in the Tri-Cities region of Central Michigan. It is the county seat of Midland County. The city's population was 41,863 as of the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Midland Micropolitan Statistical Area, part of the larger Saginaw-Midland-Bay City Combined Statistical Area. In 2010, Midland was named the no. 4 Best Small City to raise a family in by Forbes magazine.
By the late 1820s, Midland was established as a fur trading post of the American Fur Company supervised by the post at Saginaw. Here agents purchased furs from Ojibwe trappers. The Campau family of Detroit operated an independent trading post at this location in the late 1820s.
The Dow Chemical Company was founded in Midland in 1897, and its world headquarters are still located there. Through the influence of a Dow Chemical plant opening in Handa, Aichi, Japan, Midland and Handa have become sister cities. The Dow Corning Corporation and Chemical Bank are also headquartered in Midland.
Online Classes for HVAC Midland MI
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online Classes for HVAC. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper 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 educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Midland MI.
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