How to Choose an HVAC School near Waipahu Hawaii
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Waipahu HI. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to look into 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Waipahu HI
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Waipahu HI HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Waipahu HI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 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 or even 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 learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Waipahu HI, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Waipahu HI students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Waipahu and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Waipahu HI
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Waipahu HI area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Waipahu HI area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list 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 can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Waipahu HI HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Waipahu HI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Waipahu HI HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Waipahu HI home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Waipahu HI, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Waipahu HI?
Waipahu is a former sugarcane plantation town and now census-designated place (CDP) located in the ʻEwa District on the island of Oʻahu in the City & County of Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the CDP population was 38,216. The U.S. postal code for Waipahu is 96797.
Waipahu is the name of an artesian spring. In Hawaiian, Waipahu is derived from wai, meaning water, and pahū, meaning "burst or explode"; combined, Waipahu means "water forced up (as out of a spring)". The early Native Hawaiians took pleasure in the cool and clear water gushing from the ground and named this spring Waipahu. Before the Western civilization set foot in Hawaii, the Hawaiians considered Waipahu to be the capital of Oahu. Royalty in the Kingdom of Hawaii would often gather and enjoy the fresh water from the spring Waipahu.
In 1897, Oahu Sugar Company was incorporated, and its board of directors located the sugar mill in Waipahu. It had 943 field workers. There were 44 Hawaiians, including 10 minors; 57 Portuguese; 443 Japanese, 408 of them contract laborers; and 399 Chinese, 374 of whom were contract laborers. The company's managers from 1897 to 1940 were August Ahrens (1897–1904), E.K. Bull (1904–1919), J.B. Thomson (1919–1923), E.W. Greene (1923–1937), and Hans L'Orange (1937–1956).
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Waipahu HI
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Waipahu HI.
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