How to Pick an HVAC College near Homer Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Homer AK. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the heating and cooling school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
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, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Homer AK HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly 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 acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple 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.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the Homer AK area school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of alternatives offered in Homer AK for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among Homer AK beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for 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.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the Homer AK HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all 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 remainder of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Homer AK students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Homer and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools near Homer AK and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs near Homer AK. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their Homer AK apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Homer AK Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with regional HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Homer AK home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Homer AK, confirm 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 allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Heating and Air Conditioning Technician?When prepping to interview for an HVAC position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask Heating and Cooling prospects is "What made you decide on Heating and Air Conditioning as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming an HVAC Contractor, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Heating and Air Conditioning, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent HVAC Contractor and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Tech Program in Homer Alaska
Picking the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices 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 Homer AK.
Some Infomation on Homer Alaska
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