How to Choose an HVAC School near Wood Dale Illinois
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Wood Dale IL. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Wood Dale IL
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, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Wood Dale IL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered 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 minimum period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Wood Dale IL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Wood Dale IL, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some 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 online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Wood Dale IL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Wood Dale and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near Wood Dale IL
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Wood Dale IL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Wood Dale IL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Wood Dale IL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Wood Dale IL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Wood Dale IL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Wood Dale IL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wood Dale IL, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Wood Dale IL?
Wood Dale, Illinois
According to the 2010 census, Wood Dale has a total area of 4.834 square miles (12.52 km2), of which 4.72 square miles (12.22 km2) (or 97.64%) is land and 0.114 square miles (0.30 km2) (or 2.36%) is water. Wood Dale shares borders with Elk Grove Village (on the north), Bensenville (east), Addison (south, southwest) and Itasca (west.)
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,535 people, 5,117 households, and 3,663 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,897.8 people per square mile (1,119.0/km²). There were 5,220 housing units at an average density of 1,117.6 per square mile (431.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.22 percent White, 0.58 percent African American, 0.15 percent Native American, 3.24 percent Asian, 0.07 percent Pacific Islander, 4.80 percent from other races, and 1.94 percent from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.06 percent of the population.
There were 5,117 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.15.
Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Wood Dale IL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options 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 proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Wood Dale IL.
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