An In-Depth View of 3 HVAC Programs

1. Kaplan College: HVAC Diploma Program

Kaplan College boasts an impressive HVAC diploma program located in many states across the nation. All coursework is centered around an HVAC career, with no general classes. The coursework offered instructs students in tools, electrical circuits, and how to read particular diagrams and graphs. Kaplan students also learn about refrigeration, system changing, oil management, and calibrating. They are schooled in motors and controls, and heating and cooling units.

The curriculum strives to prepare the students for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) EPA Technician Certification Exam as well as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Certification Exam.

Aside from classroom studies, students enrolling in the Kaplan program can expect to receive plenty of hands-on training to help prepare them for their future employment opportunities. In Kaplan training sessions, students will learn how to install and fix different kinds of heating and cooling systems. When all the coursework and training is through, the student will be ready for entry-level employment in the HVAC field.

2. Ferris State University: HVAC Bachelor’s Degree

For quick promotions in the workforce, it is always a plus if one has higher education under their belt. A bachelor’s degree will surely look good on any resume. Ferris State’s program will teach you everything a diploma program would and so much more, though time and expense will increase. Classroom studies concentrate on things like controls design, system balancing, and efficiency evaluations.

Aside from classroom coursework, Ferris State also offers hands-on training . . . to the max. They provide students with an energy systems laboratory equipped with a ten-ton variable air volume, four-zone HVAC system that controls cooling, heating and ventilation with computerized energy management. Students will also complete systems analysis for local businesses. Finally, as part of the curriculum, students complete a paid internship. Ferris State offers higher education as well as experience.

3. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) National Capital Chapter: Apprentice Program

The ACCA National Capital Chapter Apprenticeship Training Program is a four year program. Like the bachelor’s degree, this program is much longer than a diploma program would be, but instead of extra costs, you will receive four whole years of paid on-the-job training (though you will still have to pay tuition). Throughout the four years, it is expected that the student will receive a total of 8,000 hours of experience devoted to different areas of the HVAC field: Tools and equipment; air ducting, movement, and treatment; refrigeration controls; motors, controls, and wiring; heating and fuel burning equipment; heat pumps; piping installation and service; and safety.

After each year, students receive certification examinations. Year Two students will take the Industry Competency Exam, Year Three students take the North American Technician Excellence Core Test, and Year Four students take the North American Technician Excellence Heat Pump test. When all the training and testing is complete, the apprentice will be ready for the big time.

Before choosing what kind of program you wish to become involved in, it is important to think about three things: time, money, and education. How important are quick promotions to you? If they are very important, than you may want to put in more time and money in the beginning, so you may rise to the top of your field faster. If, however, you wish to get into the job market as soon as possible, or money is somewhat tight, than a diploma program is a perfect choice. No matter which kind of program you choose, beginning a career as an HVAC technician is a wise choice. The HVAC field is growing at a rate of 28%. If there is a future anywhere, there is one in HVAC.

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