Few HVACR professionals would dispute the importance of ongoing training. In fact, many contractors now require their technicians to attend regular training to help them learn about new government regulations, new products, and new diagnostic and repair techniques and procedures. Training can also help even the most seasoned technicians work more efficiently, reducing the amount of time spent on a job while also reducing callbacks.
In today’s market, there is no lack of training programs available to you — from vocational and technical career schools to private companies, HVACR training programs abound. With the number of programs out there, finding the right training program for you or your technicians can often be confusing.
So how do you determine the right program to receive your training? It often comes down to finding the right mix that works best for you. To do that, you have to consider a number of criteria.
As a contractor, technician, or installer, you want to attend a school that offers the very best training. That makes learning more about a school’s reputation a critical part of your decision-making process. Simply relying on slick marketing or industry rumors may not be enough.
Instead, you need to find a training program that offers the kind of training you want. Ask others who have attended a course or courses taught by the school. Talk to your distributor and manufacturer representatives to get their opinions of the program. Go online and search for any complaints about the school.
Getting the most out of the time and money you are willing to spend on your training is important. Don’t squander those resources by attending courses from a school that may not give you the best opportunity for success.
After you have done your preliminary research regarding the school’s reputation, you should then consider a few other areas of importance. One of those areas is accreditation. An accredited institution assures the student that industry experts have taken a thorough look at the school or training facility and have examined the program elements, the curriculum, and other pertinent industry criteria.
For the school, becoming accredited is an exhausting process, but to the student, it offers the highest level of assurance — that the curriculum being studied meets the standards of the HVACR industry, that the instructors are of the highest caliber, and the facility is equipped to provide the educational tools required to best accommodate the student.
Additionally, completed courses from an accredited institution will provide the learner with continuing education credits. These credits can be transferred or used to help advance the learner’s career or business while giving the recipient greater credibility, status, and confidence in the eyes of the customer.
Think back to when you were in high school. There was probably one instructor, possibly more, that made learning easy. Conversely, you might have known teachers that made learning more difficult than it should have been. It’s the same in HVACR training. There are plenty of trainers out there, but finding the right trainers that can make learning less difficult, less boring, and more memorable is what really counts.
Additionally, you want to look for trainers who are the most knowledgeable — trainers who will deliver the most current, accurate, and reliable information as possible.
To find the right trainer or trainers, look at their qualifications. How long have they been in the HVACR industry? What are their credentials? Are they part of an accredited institution? Do they use the right mix of training techniques and tools that can help in the retention of the information?
Talk to others in the industry who have experienced a particular trainer. Look for testimonials online. Call the school and ask how long the trainer has been at the school. Learn more about the trainer’s credentials, industry awards, satisfaction surveys that have been conducted, and more.
Finding time to attend an HVACR course can be difficult, particularly during busier seasons. For those who can afford the time, classroom-style training is often the first choice. But during busier periods, when time is at a premium, training can be difficult.
Thanks to the advancing technologies of the internet, online training can help accommodate even the busiest of schedules. Instructors can now broadcast live to their students — who may be watching from their office or their home, or wherever they have internet access.
An example of this is the online training program at Johnstone Solutions University (JSU). Although JSU does hold regular classroom-style and hands-on training classes, it also delivers online training through its FlexTrain component. Courses delivered through FlexTrain are presented as live events. Students can ask questions during the event and receive live feedback. JSU even offers a video library of all of the FlexTrain events so they can be viewed at any time, day or night.
As stated earlier, few in the HVACR industry would disagree that ongoing training is an important ingredient in personal and company success. Making certain that you receive the right kind of training is critical to that success. After all, you’re devoting your time and money to achieve your training goal. You want to be sure it’s the best that’s available.
Before you take your next training class, be sure it offers the right mix that best suits your needs. Look at the reputation of the school. Find out if it is accredited and that their trainers are qualified. Finally, make sure the classes are available to you in both classroom-style delivery and live online training. That will give you the greatest amount of flexibility in continuing your training, even in the busiest of seasons.
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