How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Course near Daphne Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Daphne AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Daphne AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Daphne AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Daphne AL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Daphne AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Daphne and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Daphne AL area and throughout the United States to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Daphne AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Daphne AL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Daphne AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Daphne AL HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Daphne AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Learn More About Daphne HVAC Courses Near You
Earn Your HVAC Training and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Daphne AL.