How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Program near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Anthem AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Anthem AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable 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. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Anthem AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Anthem AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Anthem AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Anthem and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Anthem AZ area and across the Country to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Anthem AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Anthem AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Anthem AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Anthem AZ HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Anthem AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anthem AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find Out More About Anthem Heating and Cooling Training Classes Near You
Earn Your HVAC Training and Certification
Finding the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Anthem AZ.