To become PAHRA accredited, a training program must evaluate its own strengths and weaknesses and compare them to industry standards. This information is then compiled in a self-study report.
A PAHRA survey team will then visit the HVACR program to make sure that the information in the self-study is correct and accurate.
It took Delaware Technical and Community College about one year to complete the PAHRA process. Last year, the college was honored with the accreditation.
For some instructors and training programs, obtaining PAHRA accreditation may seem like a lot of work and stress. But the instructors at Delaware Tech say that the process is nothing to get worked up about. There is no doubt that PAHRA is a challenging process, but according to Jimmy Yeako, HVACR instructor at Delaware Tech, becoming a PAHRA-accredited school does not have to be overwhelming. In fact, Yeako says that the work he and fellow instructor Rob Bates did towards PAHRA was a great learning experience.
TAKING A LONG, HARD LOOKAccording to Yeako, the HVACR program at Delaware Tech has been in existence for the last 20 years. He says that the college wanted to obtain PAHRA accreditation in order to demonstrate that the program is in line with industry standards.
To do this, PAHRA asks that the program complete a thorough self-study. This self-study documents several aspects of the HVACR program including students, faculty, and curriculum. In a sense, PAHRA makes it mandatory that a program take a good, hard look at itself.
For some instructors, this process of documenting the ins and outs of their program, including where it excels and where it falls short, can be both time consuming and daunting.
But for Yeako, this was one of the most beneficial parts of the entire process.
“It was actually quite exciting,” Yeako said about the self-study. “It gave us the opportunity to go back over 20 years and look at what we’ve been doing.
“It felt good to look at what we’ve done and put it on paper.”
He notes that because of PAHRA, Delaware Tech’s HVACR program now has a historical timeline documenting what the program has done since the beginning.
TAKE TIME TO PREPAREWhen it came time for Bates and Yeako to get the ball rolling on PAHRA, Yeako says that he was not intimidated. He says that he and Bates had been preparing for quite some time and that they felt confident that their program was up to PAHRA standards.
Yeako says that he took the time to get help, do research, and learn everything he would need to know. He credits his involvement in the Council of Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators (CARE), as well as participation in the Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute’s (ARI’s) instructor workshops.
Yeako believes that the ARI instructor workshop is one of the most valuable tools that an instructor has in accomplishing PAHRA accreditation. The ARI event brings together instructors from all over the country to discuss a number of industry topics related to training and education. One such topic is PAHRA accreditation. Yeako says that the event provides the opportunity to communicate with other instructors who are also going through the PAHRA process.
Yeako suggests that instructors seek help outside the instructor workshops.
“Call instructors who have been through the process,” he says. “We want to help each other. I think that is a goal of all HVAC instructors.”
Both Yeako and Bates have been more than willing to assist instructors who are working toward PAHRA accreditation. One way of doing this is to help other programs with the self-study process. Yeako says that he has made available copies of Delaware Tech’s self-study so that instructors can see how it is done.
Yeako is also quick to tell others about the benefits of earning PAHRA. For example, Yeako says that accreditation is very important to both students and parents. He also points out that PAHRA is clear proof to prospective students and their parents that the program will provide them with what they need to succeed in the industry.
Publication date: 07/29/2002