How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Lancaster Minnesota
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Lancaster MN. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Lancaster MN HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered 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 amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Lancaster MN.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lancaster MN, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also offer 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 attended online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Lancaster MN students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Lancaster and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Lancaster MN area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Lancaster MN area have earned 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. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce 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 additionally that it has the network of Lancaster MN HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Lancaster MN HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lancaster MN HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lancaster MN residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lancaster MN, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Lancaster MN?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lancaster Minnesota area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lancaster was incorporated in 1904 along a Soo Line Railroad line running from Glenwood to the Canada–US border. The city was named after a railroad official believed to have come from Lancashire County in England.
Lancaster is located along U.S. Highway 59, at the junction with Kittson County Roads 4, 5, and 6. The North Branch Two Rivers flows nearby. The Canadian border is located nine miles north of the city.
As of the census of 2010, there were 340 people, 163 households, and 98 families residing in the city. The population density was 147.8 inhabitants per square mile (57.1/km2). There were 189 housing units at an average density of 82.2 per square mile (31.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.6% Asian, and 0.6% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.
Heat and Air School Lancaster MN
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heat and Air School. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are ample practical 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 inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask 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 filter 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 Lancaster MN.
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