How to Find the Right HVAC School near Whittier Alaska
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Whittier AK. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Whittier AK
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Whittier AK HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following 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 competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several 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 minimum period of time, often completed in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Whittier AK.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to finish, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Whittier AK, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Whittier AK students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Whittier and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Whittier AK
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Whittier AK area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Whittier AK area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Whittier AK HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Whittier AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Whittier AK HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Whittier AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Whittier AK, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Whittier AK?
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. At the 2010 census the population was 220, up from 182 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Whittier AK
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Whittier AK.
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