How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Woodland Park Colorado
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Woodland Park CO. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Woodland Park CO
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for 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, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Woodland Park CO HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Woodland Park CO.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Woodland Park CO, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Woodland Park CO students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Woodland Park and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Woodland Park CO
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Woodland Park CO area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Woodland Park CO area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also mean 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 list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Woodland Park CO HVAC employers to help grads 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 vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Woodland Park CO HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Woodland Park CO HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Woodland Park CO residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Woodland Park CO, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Woodland Park CO?
Woodland Park, Colorado
The City of Woodland Park is a Home Rule Municipality that is the most populous city in Teller County, Colorado, United States and is immediately west of El Paso County and the unincorporated community of Crystola. Many residents in this bedroom community, which is surrounded by the one-million acre (4,000 km²) Pike National Forest, make the 17-mile (27 km) commute to Colorado Springs. Ute Pass lies 12 miles (19 km) to the west of Woodland Park on US 24. The population was 6,515 at the 2000 census. Nearby Douglas County is about a fifteen-minute drive from the city.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,515 people, 2,476 households, and 1,884 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,151.0 people per square mile (444.4/km²). There were 2,642 housing units at an average density of 466.8 per square mile (180.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.89% White, 0.52% African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.81% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.45% of the population.
There were 2,476 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.3% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.03.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Woodland Park CO
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. 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 tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Woodland Park CO.
More Fabulous Cities in Colorado
Business Results 1 - 10 of 149