NIC HVAC-R students now on fast track to journeyman's license; Room still available for fall enrollment

Although basic math is one of the requirements of North Idaho College’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) program, something still doesn’t add up. Suddenly nine months spent in the NIC professional-technical program equates to all four years of training plus one year of the on-the-job training required for a four-year journeyman’s license.
 “I would recommend that anyone go through the program,” said NIC HVAC-R graduate Andrew Compton of Coeur d’Alene, who is now working for DIVCO in Spokane. After completing the NIC program, Compton now has only three years of on-the-job training remaining to earn his journeyman’s license. “The program is excellent, really. And once you’ve completed it, everything else is on-the-job training.”
In 2005, the state approved a license requirement for HVAC technicians working throughout the state, making it a licensed trade similar to that of electricians.  
NIC HVAC-R Instructor Chris Compton said that the license requirement was a huge step in the industry. But he wanted to take it one step further by ensuring that students acquiring formal training would earn credit toward their journeyman’s license.
Compton spent the past year attending meetings of the Idaho State Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Board, which are primarily held in Boise, advocating for his proposal to allow a technical certificate to satisfy the requirements to become a second-year apprentice. 
 “We wanted to make the NIC program a fast track to satisfying that apprenticeship training,” Compton said.
The state HVAC board approved the measure so now graduates of HVAC-R programs at NIC, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College will qualify as second-year apprentices with all related training completed upon successful completion of their respective program.
According to the new apprenticeship requirements, those who complete NIC’s nine-month professional-technical program will not only earn a technical certificate, but will also have satisfied the formal training element of the state apprenticeship. Apprentices with a technical certificate will only have three years of required work hours remaining to qualify them to take the state journeyman’s exam.
“This is a benefit to the employers by hiring an employee who has satisfied the training requirements to become a journeyman—an employee who comes out of the program ready to work,” Compton said. “From the students’ perspective, it’s a benefit because they don’t have to spend four years in apprenticeship classroom training to become a journeyman. Just nine months through the NIC program.”
As has been the case for the past few years, there is a national shortage for HVAC technicians making job opportunities in the field very promising, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Compton said he has been able to place 100 percent of the graduates of his program in HVAC positions with local companies.
Room is still available in the limited enrollment program. NIC’s HVAC-R program consists of daytime classroom and lab work. Fall semester begins Aug. 28.
Information: Professional-Technical Student Support Services Office at (208) 769-3468 or the NIC Admissions Office at (208) 769-3311.

For More Information
NIC Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Instructor Chris Compton, cell (208) 660-6625 or in the summer (406) 847-5541

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2006

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