How to Select an HVAC Training Course near White Plains Maryland
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near White Plains MD. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in White Plains MD
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for White Plains MD HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and 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. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near White Plains MD.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 4 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 right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in White Plains MD, subsequently going back 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 Training
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. 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 as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some White Plains MD students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from White Plains and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near White Plains MD
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the White Plains MD area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the White Plains MD area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors 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 list of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of White Plains MD HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along 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 reviewing have referring partnerships with local White Plains MD HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical 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 instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local White Plains MD HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your White Plains MD home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near White Plains MD, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near White Plains MD?
White Plains, Maryland
White Plains is an unincorporated community located in Charles County, Maryland, in the United States, just south of Waldorf. It is located at latitude 38°35'25" North; longitude 76°56'26" West. The United States Postal Service has assigned White Plains the ZIP Code 20695. While the commercial portion of White Plains lies along U.S. Route 301, the largest concentration of residences with the White Plains mailing address is actually six to seven miles to the west in developments located near Billingsley Road (see the article Bryans Road, Maryland). The area is experiencing population sprawl from the adjacent unincorporated communities of Waldorf and St. Charles, features new office parks and a scenic new rail trail
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near White Plains MD
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in White Plains MD.
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