How to Select the Right HVAC Degree Program near Scottville Michigan
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Scottville MI. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, 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 extensively 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Scottville MI HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, 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 acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Scottville MI.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Scottville MI, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for many Scottville MI students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Scottville and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Scottville MI area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two 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 trade schools in the Scottville MI area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are 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 acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but also that it has the network of Scottville MI HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Scottville MI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Scottville MI HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Scottville MI home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottville MI, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Scottville MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Scottville Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
On July 23, 2007 Governor Jennifer Granholm announced Scottville as the community chosen by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to take part in the Cool Cities Michigan Main Street program. Scottville will receive five years of intensive technical assistance through MSHDA, to help create opportunities for new development, economic growth and jobs.  A similar award, the Blueprints for Downtowns award, were announced to be received by the communities of Caro, Clio and Ypsilanti.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.49 square miles (3.86 km2), all land. The city of Scottville itself is approximately 10 miles east of the city of Ludington and Lake Michigan, five miles west of the village of Custer and 10 miles south west of the village of Fountain.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,214 people, 483 households, and 309 families residing in the city. The population density was 814.8 inhabitants per square mile (314.6/km2). There were 578 housing units at an average density of 387.9 per square mile (149.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.9% White, 0.9% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.3% of the population.
Learn HVAC Scottville MI
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Learn HVAC. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to choose 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 features to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Scottville MI.
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