How to Choose the Right HVAC Training Program near Casas Adobes Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Casas Adobes AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Casas Adobes AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Casas Adobes AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared 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 learning 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 future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Casas Adobes AZ, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Casas Adobes AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Casas Adobes and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Casas Adobes AZ area and across the USA to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Casas Adobes AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Casas Adobes AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Casas Adobes AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Casas Adobes AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Casas Adobes AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Casas Adobes AZ, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you should select a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art 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 current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Casas Adobes AZ.