HVAC Tech Schools Lewiston MN

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Lewiston Minnesota

air conditioner condensers in Lewiston MNNow that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Lewiston MN. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Contractor

Lewiston MN HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Lewiston MN HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes

radiator heater in Lewiston MN homeThere are a number 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 lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Lewiston MN.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lewiston MN, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Courses

Lewiston MN student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Lewiston MN students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Lewiston and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Certification Courses

Questions to ask Lewiston MN HVAC training schoolsAfter you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lewiston MN area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical programs in the Lewiston MN area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Lewiston MN HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Lewiston MN HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lewiston MN HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lewiston MN home. Remember 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 receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lewiston MN, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Lewiston MN?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lewiston Minnesota area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Lewiston, Minnesota

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,622 people, 600 households, and 428 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,408.7 inhabitants per square mile (543.9/km2). There were 634 housing units at an average density of 551.3 per square mile (212.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.0% White, 1.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 600 households of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.7% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.15.

The median age in the city was 36.2 years. 29.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.5% were from 45 to 64; and 13.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.9% male and 49.1% female.

HVAC Tech Schools Lewiston MN

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Tech Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lewiston MN.

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