How to Choose an HVAC Training Class near West Jefferson North Carolina
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near West Jefferson NC. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in West Jefferson NC
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for West Jefferson NC HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to 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 techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near West Jefferson NC.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught 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 dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in West Jefferson NC, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate 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 rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many West Jefferson NC students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from West Jefferson and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses near West Jefferson NC
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the West Jefferson NC area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the West Jefferson NC area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Jefferson NC HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training 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 within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local West Jefferson NC HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local West Jefferson NC HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your West Jefferson NC residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near West Jefferson NC, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near West Jefferson NC?
West Jefferson, North Carolina
West Jefferson was incorporated in 1909. At one time, West Jefferson had the distinction of having the only cheese factory in the southeastern United States. For many decades West Jefferson was served by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, better known as the "Virginia Creeper". The railroad was the primary reason for the creation of West Jefferson, as the town became a major stop on the railway. With the decline of the railroad and the loss of textile factory jobs to foreign markets, West Jefferson's economy is increasingly devoted to the tourism industry. The town's location in the Appalachian Mountains has led to a large number of tourists visiting the area each year, and many out-of-state tourists have begun to build cabins and housing developments around the town.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,081 people, 527 households, and 290 families residing in the town. The population density was 619.2 people per square mile (238.5/km²). There were 601 housing units at an average density of 344.3 per square mile (132.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.73% White, 0.37% African American, 1.57% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 2.04% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.27% of the population.
There were 527 households out of which 22.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 41.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.69.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near West Jefferson NC
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed 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 profession. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in West Jefferson NC.
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