How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Woodsboro Maryland
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Woodsboro MD. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Woodsboro MD
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Woodsboro MD HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary 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.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of alternatives offered 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 lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Woodsboro MD.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Woodsboro MD, eventually returning to obtain 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 Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Woodsboro MD students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Woodsboro and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Woodsboro MD
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Woodsboro MD area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Woodsboro MD area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 might signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Woodsboro MD HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Woodsboro MD HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Woodsboro MD HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Woodsboro MD residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Woodsboro MD, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Woodsboro MD?
In 1895, Dr. George F. Smith founded Rosebud Perfume Company in Woodsboro. Smith had eight children, and served as mayor of the town for 19 years. The business has remained in the family, and as of 2012, was still producing its famous "Smith's Rosebud Salve," a lip gloss and salve originally known as tholene. The products are shipped from company headquarters in Woodsboro; however, "the salve is manufactured and filled at Case Mason in Joppa, Md., and the tins are made in Baltimore."
Unlike most cities, the executive officer of Woodsboro, Maryland is called a burgess. The current executive officer of Woodsboro is Burgess Gary Smith. Donald Trimmer, the previous burgess, stepped down in May 2009 after 16 years of serving in that post. The first Burgess of Woodsboro was Dr. George F. Smith.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,141 people, 423 households, and 306 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,607.0 inhabitants per square mile (620.5/km2). There were 443 housing units at an average density of 623.9 per square mile (240.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.9% White, 3.7% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Woodsboro MD
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a technical 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 lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Woodsboro MD.
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