How to Find the Right HVAC School near Thomas West Virginia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Thomas WV. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Thomas WV
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Thomas WV HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Thomas WV.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as 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 study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Thomas WV, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor 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 participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Thomas WV students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Thomas and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Thomas WV
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Thomas WV area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Thomas WV area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, 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 finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Thomas WV HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs 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 considering have referring partnerships with local Thomas WV HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Thomas WV HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Thomas WV residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Thomas WV, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Thomas WV?
Thomas, West Virginia
Thomas was platted in 1884. Thomas was named for Thomas Beall Davis (1828-1911), brother of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. The Davis brothers, in 1883, opened a mine near Thomas and had coal ready to ship when their railway arrived a year later. By 1892, Davis Coal and Coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world and employed 1,600 people. At the peak of its operations in 1915, there were nine producing mines within a mile of the company's office in Thomas.
Immigrants flocked to the area as miners, railroad laborers, or merchants. The Company employed a man named Wladyslaw Dackiewicz as an interpreter. He could speak, read, and write eight languages and his services were much in demand with the influx of immigrants.
In 1901, in less than two hours, nearly half of Thomas (83 buildings) was destroyed by a fire. The city was quickly rebuilt with fine hotels and a new opera house. The Cottrill Opera House had a saloon on the first floor which was by far the most elegant of the eight bars located on Front Street. In 1909, Front Street (also known as First Street, Main Street, and East Avenue) was laid with brick to become the first paved street in the county.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Thomas WV
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered 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 checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Thomas WV.
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