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What to Look for in an HVAC Program

Posted Monday, Jul 19, 2021 by Altierus

Looking into a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)? It’s a good choice: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employers will need an additional 15,100 HVAC and refrigeration technicians over the 2019–2029 period.[1] In addition to being in demand, an HVAC or HVACR career offers you the opportunity to do challenging, hands-on work that helps people live in comfortable, healthy air and keeps businesses operating that rely on refrigeration.

When it comes to training, you probably know there are many HVAC programs to choose from. This article describes a few of the characteristics you should look for when deciding on an HVAC school.

Accreditation

First, look for accreditation. Accreditation is a process in which a third-party organization examines the practices and programs a school offers to ensure they meet certain standards of quality. There are two basic types of accreditation:

Institutional Accreditation—Accreditation awarded to a college or university is institutional accreditation. The school’s accreditor will look at every aspect of the school’s operations, from the courses taught to its marketing materials, to ensure that standards are being met.

Institutional accreditation can be awarded by regional accreditors or national accreditors. Usually, four–year colleges are regionally accredited, while career and technical education schools are nationally accredited. Altierus Career College, for example, is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Careers Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Both regional and national accreditors are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education.

Programmatic Accreditation—Programmatic accreditation refers to the accreditation of a specific degree or diploma program by an industry body. Programmatic accreditation usually means that graduates of the program are eligible to take licensure or certification exams. At Altierus, our HVACR diploma programs are HVAC Excellence accredited by the ESCO Group.

Hands-On Classes

Obviously, hands-on practice matters when it comes to HVAC training programs. You’ll need to develop familiarity with the tools, techniques, and safety procedures necessary to pursue work as an HVACR technician.

At Altierus, we blend online coursework with on-campus practical coursework. For our HVAC students, this means that you only need to be on campus two days per week. When you do come to campus, you will spend most of your time working hands-on in our HVACR labs rather than at a desk taking notes.  

Comprehensive Curriculum–Including Workplace Safety

A quality HVAC training program will teach you everything you need to know to provide competent, safe service in a residential or commercial setting. At Altierus, our curriculum includes:

  • An introduction to construction site operations, including blueprint-reading skills
  • Applied mathematics and science concepts relevant to HVACR careers, including electricity, chemistry, and the physics of air flow, heat transfer, and pressurized gases
  • Working with electrical components common in HVAC careers, including using electrical meters and understanding fans, motors, blowers, and controls
  • Understanding the function of residential and commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, boilers, and more
  • Installing HVACR system components
  • Troubleshooting HVACR systems to identify and repair or replace worn parts
  • Documenting maintenance or repair activities
  • Safe handling and disposal of refrigerants
  • Workplace safety policies and procedures common in HVAC and the construction industry

Industry Certification Preparation

A quality HVAC training program should include industry certification preparation. Certification matters because it clears you to perform certain types of work, especially on refrigeration jobs. The most common certifications for the HVACR industry include:

EPA 608 Universal Certification, which covers the safe handling of certain toxic refrigerants. This is mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act.

ESCO Group Universal R410A Safety and Training certification, which certifies technicians to handle a common pressurized refrigerant.

At Altierus, it is possible to prepare for both these industry certifications depending on whether you choose our HVAC or HVACR diploma option. We also prepare our students for basic occupational safety certification. This certification is offered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Industry-Experienced Faculty

Finally, a crucial element of a top-notch HVAC program is the people who will be teaching you. At Altierus Career College, we choose instructors with significant experience in the HVAC and refrigeration industry—instructors who can bring real-world insight about how the industry works and practical solutions for common problems you’ll encounter on the job.

We also choose instructors who are truly excited about training the next generation of HVAC and HVACR technicians. We want everyone you meet at Altierus to be just as dedicated to your success as you are!

Get Ready for a New Career Path with Altierus

Find out how our HVAC or HVACR diploma programs can prepare you to pursue an in-demand career path. Contact Altierus Career College today!


[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6

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