How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Tillmans Corner AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Tillmans Corner AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Tillmans Corner AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Tillmans Corner AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Tillmans Corner AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Tillmans Corner and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Tillmans Corner AL area and throughout the USA to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Tillmans Corner AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Tillmans Corner AL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Tillmans Corner AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Tillmans Corner AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Tillmans Corner AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tillmans Corner AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your HVAC Training and Certification
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling 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 excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Tillmans Corner AL.