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How to Find the Right HVAC Training Program near Flowing Wells Arizona

Flowing Wells Arizona home air conditioning condensersNow that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Flowing Wells AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Tech

Flowing Wells Arizona Heating and Cooling Technician servicing A/C condenserHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Flowing Wells AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade 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 attained by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Schools

Flowing Wells Arizona residential heater

There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, typically achieved in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Flowing Wells AZ.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, a number of 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 standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Flowing Wells AZ, later going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Classes

Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some 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 participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Flowing Wells AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Flowing Wells and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Training Programs

Flowing Wells Arizona HVAC contractor installing water heater

When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area and across the USA to select from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Flowing Wells AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flowing Wells AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Flowing Wells Heating and Cooling Schools Near You

Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree

Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed 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 excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to 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 training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if 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 guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Flowing Wells AZ.