How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Casas Adobes Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Casas Adobes AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Casas Adobes AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required 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 several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, 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 intend to obtain certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices available 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 lesser amount of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Casas Adobes AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Casas Adobes AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many 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 attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Casas Adobes AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Casas Adobes and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 Casas Adobes AZ HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Casas Adobes AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Casas Adobes AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Casas Adobes AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn 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 meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Casas Adobes AZ, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered 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 features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Casas Adobes AZ.