How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near West Lafayette Indiana
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near West Lafayette IN. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in West Lafayette IN
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for West Lafayette IN HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians 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.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational 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, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near West Lafayette IN.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in West Lafayette IN, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete 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 may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many West Lafayette IN students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from West Lafayette and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near West Lafayette IN
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the West Lafayette IN area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the West Lafayette IN area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 program. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of West Lafayette IN HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local West Lafayette IN HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local West Lafayette IN HVAC 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 West Lafayette IN home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near West Lafayette IN, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near West Lafayette IN?
West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette /ˌwɛst ˌlɑːfiˈɛt/ is a city in Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis and 103 miles (166 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette is directly across the Wabash River from its sister city, Lafayette. As of the 2016 census estimate, its population was 45,872. It is the most densely populated city in Indiana and is home to Purdue University.
Augustus Wylie laid out a town in 1836 in the Wabash River floodplain south of the present Levee. Due to regular flooding of the site, Wylie's town was never built. The present city was formed in 1888 by the merger of the adjacent suburban towns of Chauncey, Oakwood, and Kingston, located on a bluff across the Wabash River from Lafayette, Indiana. The three towns had been small suburban villages which were directly adjacent to one another. Kingston was laid out in 1855 by Jesse B. Lutz. Chauncey was platted in 1860 by the Chauncey family of Philadelphia, wealthy land speculators. Chauncey and Kingston formed a municipal government in 1866 which selected the name "Chauncey".
The new town of Chauncey remained a small suburban village until Purdue University opened in 1869. In 1871 Chauncey voted to be annexed by Lafayette because it was unable to provide the infrastructure (such as improved streets, waterworks, police and fire protection). Lafayette voted against annexing Chauncey because of the high cost of the many improvements that the village lacked. In May 1888, the town of Chauncey voted to change its name to West Lafayette after a petition signed by 152 electors. By that time, the growth of the university was fueling the growth of the little town. The address of Purdue University was given as "Lafayette, Indiana" until well into the twentieth century. West Lafayette never gained a railroad depot and lagged several years behind Lafayette in the establishment of municipal infrastructure and services. Today, West Lafayette has established itself as a separate city, with independent services and unique neighborhoods distinct from those of its sister city, Lafayette.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near West Lafayette IN
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate 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 appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in West Lafayette IN.
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