How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Casa Grande AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry 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 commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Casa Grande AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational 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 six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Casa Grande AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Casa Grande AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Casa Grande AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Casa Grande and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the United States to select from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Casa Grande AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of Casa Grande AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Casa Grande AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Casa Grande AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Casa Grande AZ.