How to Select an HVAC Training Course near West Lebanon New Hampshire
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near West Lebanon NH. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in West Lebanon NH
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for West Lebanon NH HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some 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 examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary 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.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options 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 least amount of time, usually completed in as little as six months, though some courses 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 training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near West Lebanon NH.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for 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.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in West Lebanon NH, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some West Lebanon NH students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from West Lebanon and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little 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 Classes near West Lebanon NH
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the West Lebanon NH area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the West Lebanon NH area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn 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. Make certain 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 guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 West Lebanon NH HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade 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 HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local West Lebanon NH HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local West Lebanon NH HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your West Lebanon NH residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction 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 see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near West Lebanon NH, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near West Lebanon NH?
West Lebanon, New Hampshire
West Lebanon is an unincorporated community (pop. approx 3,200) within the city of Lebanon, New Hampshire, on the Connecticut River. The area contains a major shopping plaza strip along New Hampshire Route 12A, serving the Upper Valley communities along Interstates 89 and 91. West Lebanon also hosts the Lebanon Municipal Airport, a number of small software and tech businesses, and a regional daily newspaper, the Valley News. The village serves as a bedroom community for nearby Dartmouth College.
West Lebanon was the site of Lebanon's first settlement in 1761. Later the village became a regionally important rail hub, although at that time it was better known to rail travelers as Westboro. By the 1950s, however, the rail industry had shrunk significantly. The village of White River Junction, Vermont, across the Connecticut River, took most of the remaining services, and the rail service through West Lebanon was terminated.
Today commerce has replaced transportation as the basis of the economy, and West Lebanon serves as the commercial hub for a United States micropolitan area of over 170,000 people.Seminary Hill School is located in the area.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near West Lebanon NH
Selecting the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in West Lebanon NH.
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