How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Training near Eloy Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Eloy AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Eloy AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, 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 desire to obtain certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though 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 training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Eloy AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 based on what your future 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 getting some experience in the trade in Eloy AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Eloy AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Eloy and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Eloy AZ area and across the Country to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Eloy AZ area have acquired 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 pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified 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 graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Eloy AZ HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Eloy AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing 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 campus facilities and the tools 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 technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Eloy AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Eloy AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eloy AZ, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Eloy AZ.