How to Pick an HVAC Training Class near Woodinville Washington
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Woodinville WA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors 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 within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Woodinville WA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Woodinville WA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant 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 received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Woodinville WA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 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.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Woodinville WA, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Woodinville WA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Woodinville and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited 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 Trade Schools near Woodinville WA
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Woodinville WA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Woodinville WA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent 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 broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Woodinville WA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Woodinville WA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Woodinville WA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Woodinville WA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Woodinville WA, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Woodinville WA?
Woodinville is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 10,938 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Seattle metropolitan area. There is also a much larger population with Woodinville mailing addresses in adjacent unincorporated areas of King (Cottage Lake) and Snohomish (Maltby) counties. Woodinville has waterfront parks on the Sammamish River, sweeping winery and brewery grounds, and densely wooded residential areas.
In 1871, Susan Woodin and her husband Ira moved from Seattle and traveled up the Sammamish River to build a cabin, log timber and farm cattle. A town gradually built up around the cabin, which served as its first school and Post Office, with Susan Woodin as Postmaster. Woodin and his son-in-law Thomas Sanders set up the first general store.
Like other nearby towns, Woodinville began as a logging community, became a farming center in the early decades of the 20th century, and developed into a suburb of Seattle after World War II. In 1969, rock bands including Led Zeppelin and The Guess Who performed at the Seattle Pop Festival at Woodinville's Gold Creek Park.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Woodinville WA
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 technician in Woodinville WA.
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