How to Select an HVAC Degree Program near Galena Alaska
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Galena AK. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the heating and cooling school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things that you need to research 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Galena AK HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the Galena AK area program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices available in Galena AK for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, though 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 advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among Galena AK entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the Galena AK HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor 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 online, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Galena AK students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Galena and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools near Galena AK and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools have acquired 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, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs near Galena AK. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify 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 broader directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their Galena AK apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Galena AK HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with area HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on 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 using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Galena AK residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Galena AK, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be an HVAC Contractor?When preparing to interview for a Heating and Cooling job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask HVAC applicants is "What drove you to choose Heating and Air Conditioning as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Heating and Cooling Tech, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Heating and Air Conditioning, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional Heating and Cooling Contractor and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right HVAC Trade College in Galena Alaska
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you should select a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Galena AK.
Some Infomation on Galena Alaska
Galena (/ɡəˈliːnə/) (Notaalee Denh in Koyukon) is a city in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 470, with a 2016 estimate of 488 inhabitants. Galena was established in 1918, and a military airfield was built adjacent to the city during World War II. The city was incorporated in 1971.
The Koyukon Athabascans had seasonal camps in the area and moved as the wild game migrated. In the summer many families floated on rafts to the Yukon River to fish for salmon. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Galena was established in 1918 near an Athabascan fish camp called Henry's Point. It became a supply and point for nearby lead ore mines that opened in 1918 and 1919.
In 1941 and 1942, during World War II, a military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport, and the two facilities shared the runway and flight line facilities. This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station shortly after the split of the United States Air Force from the United States Army, which occurred as a result of the National Security Act of 1947. During the 1950s, the construction of additional military facilities at Galena and the nearby Campion Air Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the auspices of the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, provided improvements to the airport and the local infrastructure, causing economic growth for the area.
Following the end of the Cold War, in 1993, operation of Galena Air Force Station was turned over to a contractor, and all military personnel were withdrawn with only small groups of active personnel visiting the base on an as-needed basis. The former military facility remains in use effectively as a forward operating location that is used occasionally by the military. This use came under scrutiny by the Base Realignment and Closure Committee in the late 2000s and was officially closed October 1, 2010. The Air Force retains responsibility for toxin cleanup in the area and engineers from Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks still visit the site on occasion. The base is now totally controlled by the City of Galena, the Galena School District and the Alaska Department of Transportation. The Alaska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was pursuing[when?] retaining one of the F-16 fighter hangars as a CAP facility for the CAP Wing in Galena, the "Yukon Squadron".
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