How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Class near Bullhead City Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Bullhead City AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Bullhead City AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in as little as six 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 related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Bullhead City AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require 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.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Bullhead City AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Bullhead City AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Bullhead City and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. 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 online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Bullhead City AZ area and throughout the USA to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Bullhead City AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bullhead City AZ HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Bullhead City AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bullhead City AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Bullhead City AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying 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 degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Bullhead City AZ.