How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Fortuna Foothills AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details 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 criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially 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 extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Fortuna Foothills AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Fortuna Foothills 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 Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Fortuna Foothills AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Fortuna Foothills and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and all over the Country to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Fortuna Foothills 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 establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fortuna Foothills AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you should select a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Fortuna Foothills AZ.