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How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Eloy Arizona

Eloy Arizona home air conditioning condensersOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to locate 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 selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Professional

Eloy Arizona HVAC Contractor inspecting air conditioning condenserHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors 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 regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Eloy AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some 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 competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Training Programs

Eloy Arizona home heating pump

There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade 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 just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially 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 comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Eloy AZ.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 require 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 right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Eloy AZ, later returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make 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 approach in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Eloy AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Eloy and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities 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 schedule.

Questions For HVAC Schools

Eloy Arizona HVAC tech repairing water heater

After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Eloy AZ area and all over the Country to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Eloy AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors 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 more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Eloy AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Eloy AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eloy AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Eloy AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on 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 with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eloy AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Eloy HVAC Training In Your Area

Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to 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 factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Eloy AZ.