How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Snowshoe West Virginia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Snowshoe WV. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Snowshoe WV
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Snowshoe WV HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few 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 competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically achieved in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Snowshoe WV.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Snowshoe WV, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Snowshoe WV students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Snowshoe and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Snowshoe WV
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Snowshoe WV area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Snowshoe WV area have acquired 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, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers 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 directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Snowshoe WV HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along 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 HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Snowshoe WV HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local 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 using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Snowshoe WV HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Snowshoe WV home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Snowshoe WV, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Snowshoe WV?
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Snowshoe is an unincorporated community in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, United States, centering on the Snowshoe Mountain ski resort. It is situated in the Allegheny Mountains at a bowl shaped convergence of two high mountain ridges — Cheat and Back Allegheny Mountains — at the head of the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. Snowshoe is site of the second highest point in the state and the peak elevation for Cheat Mountain, at Thorny Flat, which reaches 4,848 feet (1,478 m) above sea level.
Snowshoe has several commercial areas, with the most prominent being The Village at Snowshoe, located at the summit of the mountain (rather than at its base). While the area is still best known for winter activities, today the resort has extensive mountain biking trails, a popular golf course, wedding and convention areas, a number of summer outdoor activities, and also hosts a Grand National Cross Country racing event. About 480,000 skiers visit the area each year, primarily from West Virginia and the larger cities of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Snowshoe Mountain's large property includes several developed resort areas, a conservation area, and expansive backcountry that covers 10,950 acres (44.31 km2) in total. Ski slopes make up 244 acres (0.99 km2) of the resort, which include the Snowshoe Basin, Western Territory, and Silver Creek areas.
Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Snowshoe WV
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning 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 trade. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk 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 whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Snowshoe WV.
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