How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Woodward Iowa
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Woodward IA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Woodward IA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Woodward IA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important 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 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Woodward IA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as 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 in Woodward IA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also provide 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 option may be a more convenient solution for some Woodward IA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Woodward and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Woodward IA
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Woodward IA area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Woodward IA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Woodward IA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Woodward IA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Woodward IA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Woodward IA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Woodward IA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make 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 responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Woodward IA?
Woodward is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,024 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Woodward is also home to the Woodward-Granger Community School District's middle school and high school, the elementary school being located in Granger.
"The town of Woodward was born when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Co rconstructed its lines through the community the depot was constructed. The original name for the town was decided upon as Colton, another town had already adopted the name so the name was changed to Woodward. The City was incorporated in August 1883. The first Council meeting was on December 18, 1883 called to order by Mayor W.S. Craft."
An F-2 tornado struck Woodward, the city of Ames, and several other small Iowan communities on November 12, 2005, devastating many homes in the southeast and east parts of town. There were no casualties in Woodward, although there was one in Stratford. Discovery Channel's series Destroyed In Seconds showed the natural disaster in one of its episodes. During the first season of Dirty Jobs they visited a pig farmer from Woodward in the episode.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Woodward IA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Woodward IA.
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