How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Bullhead City Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Bullhead City AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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 discussed in more detail later in 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 qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Bullhead City AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Bullhead City AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Bullhead City AZ, later returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Bullhead City AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Bullhead City and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments 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 lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Bullhead City AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Bullhead City AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 graduates, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bullhead City AZ HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Bullhead City AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies 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 trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bullhead City AZ HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Bullhead City AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Bullhead City HVAC Programs In Your Area
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Finding the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Bullhead City AZ.