How to Select the Right HVAC Program near Whitmore Lake Michigan
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Whitmore Lake MI. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Whitmore Lake MI HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the important 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 earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training 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 minimum period of time, typically completed in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Whitmore Lake MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for 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 study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Whitmore Lake MI, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on 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 participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Whitmore Lake MI students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Whitmore Lake and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Whitmore Lake MI area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Whitmore Lake MI area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some 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 program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may 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 Whitmore Lake MI HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational 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 inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Whitmore Lake MI HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Whitmore Lake MI HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Whitmore Lake MI residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult 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 instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Whitmore Lake MI, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Whitmore Lake MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Whitmore Lake Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Whitmore Lake, Michigan
Whitmore Lake is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community spans the boundary between Green Oak Township in Livingston County and Northfield Township in Washtenaw County. The United States Census Bureau has defined a census-designated place (CDP) with this name for statistical purposes, which has no legal status as an incorporated municipality. The population was 6,423 at the 2010 census.
The community is located about 9 miles (14 km) north of Ann Arbor and about 9 miles (14 km) south of Brighton. It is situated around the shores of Whitmore Lake, and the CDP also includes the area around the smaller Horseshoe Lake to the south, Lawton Lake to the east and Monahan Lake to the northeast. U.S. Highway 23 forms the western edge of much of the CDP.
The Whitmore Lake post office, with ZIP code 48189, serves a larger area than that defined by the CDP and includes portions of southeast Hamburg Township, northeastern Webster Township, and larger parts of Green Oak and Northfield Townships than are included in the CDP.
HVAC Classes Cost Whitmore Lake MI
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Classes Cost. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching 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 ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 technician in Whitmore Lake MI.
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