How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training near Flowing Wells Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Flowing Wells AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Flowing Wells AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient 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 recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms 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 desire to acquire certification, it's important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of choices offered 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 least amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs 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 programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Flowing Wells AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. 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 cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Flowing Wells AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Flowing Wells AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Flowing Wells 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 job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout the USA to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Flowing Wells AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Flowing Wells AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you get 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. 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 because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Picking the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this article, you should choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Flowing Wells AZ.