How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Wisconsin Rapids WI. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? A number of potential 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 relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Wisconsin Rapids WI
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Wisconsin Rapids WI HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination 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 field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically accomplished in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Wisconsin Rapids WI.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Wisconsin Rapids WI, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Wisconsin Rapids WI students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Wisconsin Rapids and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Wisconsin Rapids WI
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Wisconsin Rapids WI area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Wisconsin Rapids WI area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Wisconsin Rapids WI HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Wisconsin Rapids WI HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Wisconsin Rapids WI HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Wisconsin Rapids WI home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wisconsin Rapids WI, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Wisconsin Rapids WI?
Wood County, Wisconsin
Wood County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 74,749. Its county seat is Wisconsin Rapids. The county is named after Joseph Wood, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 809 square miles (2,100 km2), of which 793 square miles (2,050 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (2.0%) is water. The geographic center of Wisconsin is in Wood county, nine miles southeast of Marshfield.
Wood County spans two of Wisconsin's five geographical regions. The northern part of the county is in the Northern Highlands, with mostly rich cropland with heavy clay soil, used for corn, soybeans, hay and dairy. In the northwest corner the Marshfield moraine runs from Marathon County through Marshfield, Bakerville and Nasonville into Clark County. The south and central areas from Babcock through Cranmoor and Wisconsin Rapids are in the Central Plain, flat and marshy - one of the major cranberry-producing centers of the United States. The Wisconsin River cuts across the southeast corner, a corridor of sand flats, islands and oxbows. The river falls about 120 feet as it flows through the county, driving several power dams. The remainder of the county is drained by smaller streams and rivers, punctuated by isolated hills like Powers Bluff.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Wisconsin Rapids WI
Finding the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Wisconsin Rapids WI.
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