How to Choose an HVAC Degree Program near Seward Alaska
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Seward AK. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the heating and cooling school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors 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. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Seward AK HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the Seward AK area school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of options offered in Seward AK for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in just six months, however some programs 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 might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among Seward AK entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the Seward AK HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC School Options Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Seward AK students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Seward and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Degree Programs
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools near Seward AK and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Seward AK. Furthermore, 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their Seward AK 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 contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Seward AK HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with regional HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Seward AK home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Seward AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be an HVAC Technician?When prepping to interview for an HVAC position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Heating and Cooling applicants is "What compelled you to decide on Heating and Air Conditioning as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Heating and Cooling Contractor, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Heating and Air Conditioning, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Heating and Cooling Contractor and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Right HVAC Technical Program in Seward Alaska
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening 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 right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Seward AK.
Some Infomation on Seward Alaska
Seward (Alutiiq: Qutalleq) is an incorporated home rule city in Alaska, United States. Located on Resurrection Bay, a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is situated on Alaska's southern coast, approximately 120 miles by road from Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, and nearly 1,300 miles from the closest point in the contiguous United States at Cape Flattery, Washington.
With an estimated permanent population of 2,831 people as of 2017, Seward is the fourth-largest city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, behind Kenai, Homer, and the borough seat of Soldotna. The city is named for former U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, who orchestrated the United States' purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 while serving in this position as part of President Andrew Johnson's administration.
Seward is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the historic starting point of the original Iditarod Trail to the Alaskan interior, with Mile 0 of the trail marked on the shoreline at the southern end of town.
In 1793 Alexander Baranov of the Shelikhov-Golikov company (precursor of the Russian-American Company) established a fur trade post on Resurrection Bay where Seward is today, and had a three-masted vessel, the Phoenix, built at the post by James Shields, an English shipwright in Russian service.
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