There is hope that technical education will get a boost in the U.S. Platforms for online education in technical subjects such as heating, air conditioning, and electricity are beginning to emerge thanks to program developers who are interested in serving a market that has been neglected by educators operating in the “got to go to college” milieu.
Traditionally, training for air conditioning technicians and electricians has received very little support compared to academic programs, and the training has been classroom and lab-based. Online training programs for the trades haven’t been developed because program developers have been slow to appreciate that today’s technical students work with computers and the internet with the same, and in some cases, more skill and enthusiasm than academic students. Students drawn to the trades are interested in technology, by their nature, and so computer-based learning is a natural. Today the equipment and systems technicians work on are digital, such as control systems for ventilation and air conditioning.
Technical students deal with the same issues as academic students: the inefficiencies of classroom-based programs; transportation to and from the class; and high costs. Online training for people wanting to develop knowledge, skills, and credentials in the trades is needed to develop a trained workforce to fill positions in technical fields that employers cannot currently fill.
AirCon Academy is a good example of the future of technical training. Their first product is an online class to prepare technicians for passing the the test about refrigerants (CFC certification) that the US Environmental Protection Agency requires for anyone working with refrigerants. A student can register for and complete this online course for about one-third the investment in time and money as opposed to a comparable classroom-based class. AirCon also has an online class about the protocols for the R410-A refrigerant that delivers the same advantages. Once technicians use this platform for obtaining their CFC credentials, they can delve into the science and technology of air conditioning by taking additional AirCon courses. – by DS