How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Millbrook AL. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Millbrook AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train 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 for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Millbrook AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Millbrook AL, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Millbrook AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Millbrook and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Millbrook AL area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Millbrook AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train 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 list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Millbrook AL HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Millbrook AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Millbrook AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Millbrook AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Millbrook AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find Out More About Millbrook Heating and Cooling Training Classes In Your Area
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Millbrook AL.