HVAC Degree Programs Long Prairie MN

How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Long Prairie Minnesota

air conditioner condensers in Long Prairie MNOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Long Prairie MN. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation 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 in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Pro

Long Prairie 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 techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Long Prairie MN HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score 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 work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Courses

radiator heater in Long Prairie MN homeThere are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in as little as 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 programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Long Prairie MN.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many degrees include 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 traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Long Prairie MN, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Training

Long Prairie MN student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number 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 online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Long Prairie MN students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Long Prairie and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Long Prairie MN HVAC training schoolsWhen you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Long Prairie MN area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Long Prairie MN area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Long Prairie MN HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Long Prairie MN HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job 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 working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Long Prairie MN HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Long Prairie MN residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Long Prairie MN, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Long Prairie MN?

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

Long Prairie, Minnesota

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.67 square miles (6.92 km2); 2.61 square miles (6.76 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.[8] The Long Prairie River flows through the city.[9]

Long Prairie's history dates back to the time when the land was inhabited first by the Sioux/Dakota and then Anishinaabe/ Ojibwe Native American tribes. In 1845, the U.S. government selected the location known as Long Prairie as a site for a USA Indian agency.[10]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,458 people, 1,290 households, and 816 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,324.9 inhabitants per square mile (511.5/km2). There were 1,391 housing units at an average density of 533.0 per square mile (205.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.8% White, 1.0% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.2% Pacific Islander, 12.7% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.9% of the population.

HVAC Degree Programs Long Prairie MN

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Degree Programs. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Long Prairie MN.

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