How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Union West Virginia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Union WV. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Union WV
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Union WV HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. 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 proficiency exam and can 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 need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Union WV.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Union WV, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Union WV students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Union and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Union WV
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Union WV area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Union WV area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Union WV HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 reviewing have referring relationships with local Union WV HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Union WV HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Union WV residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Union WV, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Union WV?
Union, West Virginia
Monroe County was established by an act of the Assembly of Virginia on January 14, 1799, occupying land formerly a part of Greenbrier County. Union did not yet exist when the county’s first court convened in 1799. However, shortly after Monroe County was created, James Alexander offered 25 acres of land, including a lot for a courthouse which in time became the town of Union. On January 6, 1800, the Virginia Assembly passed an act creating the town of Union and naming William Haynes, John Gray, John Byrnside, James Handley, Michael Erskine, John Hutchinson, and Isaac Estill trustees.
By 1810, at least sixteen lots had been sold in the newly laid out town of Union and a courthouse and jail were built at its center. In 1835, Union had 400 inhabitants and supported two hotels, two tanneries, a school, two churches, and two physicians. Union’s location on stage coach lines which carried settlers across the Allegheny Mountains helped to fuel the region’s growth, as did the several mineral spring resorts which operated in Monroe County, including Sweet Springs, Red Sulphur Springs, and Salt Sulphur Springs, all within a twenty-five mile radius of Union. Little activity during the American Civil War occurred around Union other than troop movements, especially in 1864 when regiments of the U.S. Army under General Crook encamped near the town. Small skirmishes occurred throughout the war in the vicinity of Union and Monroe County. A majority of the citizens of Union supported the Confederacy and opposed the creation of West Virginia which included Monroe County. Union was incorporated in 1868.
The town of Union retains much of its historic architecture, with many structures dating to the antebellum period when the local economy was thriving from the resort industry. The present Monroe County Courthouse, built in 1881, displays the fashionable Romanesque style of the late-19th century. Historic churches in Union include the Old Baptist Church (1845), Old Methodist Episcopal Church/Ames Clair Hall (1857), All Saints Episcopal Church (1875), Union United Methodist Church (1889), and the Union Presbyterian Church (1922). The Monroe County Historical Society preserves several historic structures in the town, including the Caperton Law Office, Owen Neel House, Clark-Wisemen House, Ames Clair Hall, and the Old Baptist Church. In recognition of the history of Union and the integrity of its preserved streetscape, the Union Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near Union WV
Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Union WV.
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