How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Eloy Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Eloy AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Eloy AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Eloy AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish 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 & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Eloy AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Eloy AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Eloy and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Eloy AZ area and across the USA to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Eloy AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Eloy AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Eloy AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local 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 using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Eloy AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Eloy AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger 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. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eloy AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Find Out More About Eloy Heating and Cooling Training Classes Near You
Get Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search 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 tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Eloy AZ.