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Learning HVACR Part 4

Dot-edu, dot-com, dot-org, dot-something else….

One of the questions that comes up regarding attending a school to learn HVACR is about their domain name. In some situations, you may find a trade school or college that is listed as a .edu. For others, it may be  .com, or it may be .org. Most people are Internet-savvy enough to understand at least the intended difference between com, edu and org.

An organization that has registered .com as their domain name, is, like any business that offers any type of product or service for sale, just that…a business. And, of course, there are a variety of organizations that are, as I mentioned in previous segments of this series, in the education (training, if you prefer) business. So, a .com listing is the easiest for us to understand.

Next on the easy to get list is .org. This, for many people, indicates that an organization is a not-for-profit one, but that’s not necessarily true. To test this idea, I just went did a search for a company that sells domain names, then typed in the first company name that came to mind. My search was for the name under the .org listing, and it was available to purchase. This leads me to the conclusion that anybody can purchase a .org domain name, and they don’t have to be a non-profit organization. An industry trade association that employs a .org domain name could, in, fact, be a non-profit entity, and likely is. Or, somebody could decide to create a trade association for a given industry, operate it as a for-profit business, and register a .org domain name. And, a private school of any type could also choose to register as a .org rather than a .com.

And then there’s the .edu domain name registration. Registering a .edu isn’t as easy as a .com or .org. Back in 2001, the United States Department of Commerce awarded a contract to a non-profit organization called Educause. This made this orgainization effectively the governor of allowing a .edu domain name registration. The idea behind this process was to ensure that anybody employing a .edu would be a postsecondary school, college, or university that is accredited by one of the agencies that is DOE (Department of Education) approved.

With all that said about .edu’s, the question is, “Does that mean that any school who is allowed to have a .edu domain will always be a school that provides excellent educational opportunities? The best answer to that question is….yes, it’s possible, but it’s not absolutely guaranteed, for a variety of reasons.

First, there’s the possibility that the .edu domain registration was obtained before the rules became more stringent about the sale of these domain names, or, it could have come to them in a way other than as intended by the Department of Commerce.  It wouldn’t hurt to ask an admissions representative how their organization obtained their .edu domain name. And if that person doesn’t know, they can certainly fnd out.

Second on the list is the fact that “accreditation” just isn’t going to be an iron-clad guarantee that the education you’ll get is going to be absolutely top-flight. A school can look their best for the two or three days that an accreditation team is on-site performing their evaluation, then later become, or revert back to, being far less than perfect at providing all the best possible to its students (this applies to  any manner of institution, be it private or public).

And another variable is the accrediting agency itself. What are their standards? How do their standards compare to other accrediting agencies? How are these standards actually met by the school? And what about the members of the accrediting team? Was there actually somebody on the team who really knew HVAC, or was it an administrator who knows voc-ed from an academic standpoint only?  Obviously, these are questions you likely won’t be able to really ask, or get an answer to even if you did, but as somebody who is considering investing time an money into getting an education, it’s your responsibility to perform due diligence in your research before making a buying decision.

Until next week.

Learn from yesterday…..Live for today…..Look forward to tomorrow