How to Choose an HVAC School near Woodland Washington
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Woodland WA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Woodland WA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Woodland WA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms 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 earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Woodland WA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, a number of 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money 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 field in Woodland WA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many 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 can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Woodland WA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Woodland and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education 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 limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Woodland WA
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Woodland WA area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Woodland WA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Woodland WA HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Woodland WA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Woodland WA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Woodland WA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Woodland WA, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Woodland WA?
Woodland is a city in Clark and Cowlitz counties in the State of Washington. Most residents live within Cowlitz County, in which the majority of the city lies. It is part of the 'Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 5,509 at the 2010 census.
Named for its wooded setting by Christopher Columbus Bozarth, first merchant and postmaster, at the suggestion of his wife. Identically or similarly named unincorporated communities (without post offices) with the same name source exist in Pierce County, Snohomish County, Island County, and Grays Harbor County.
Hudson's Bay Company retiree, Adolphous Le Lewes (alternate spelling Lewis), established a homestead at the mouth of what is today known as the Lewis River, in 1849 (The Lewis River is the namesake of A. Le Lewes, not Merriweather Lewis as some believe). Two Iowa families, related by marriage, came next: the Solomon Strongs filed a claim in September 1850 and the Squire Bozarths filed a claim in December of the same year. Bozarth built the first frame house, in what is today Woodland, and named it "Woodland Farm House." Other early settlers include: Columbia Lancaster, Milly Bozarth (Wife of Squire), McKenzie and Jane Caples, Brandt and Hans Kraft. After a few years, Christopher Columbus Bozarth (Better known as C.C. and the namesake for C.C. street in Woodland), a son of Squire Bozarth, opened a store and named it "Woodland," after his father's farm. Woodland eventually grew on the spot where the store was located.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Woodland WA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a technical 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 visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. 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 informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Woodland WA.
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