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How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona home A/C condensersOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Douglas AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Specialist

Douglas Arizona HVAC Contractor inspecting air conditioning condenserHVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Douglas AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant 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 may be received in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes

Douglas Arizona home heating pump

There are several options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Douglas AZ.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Douglas AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Classes

Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all 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 in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Douglas AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Douglas and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Trade Schools

Douglas Arizona HVAC contractor replacing water heater

Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Douglas AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Douglas AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, 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, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Douglas AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Douglas AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Douglas AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Douglas AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased 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 monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Douglas Heating and Cooling Training Classes Near You

Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification

Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Douglas AZ.