How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Fortuna Foothills AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency 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 field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several choices 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 lesser period of time, typically achieved in just six 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 training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Fortuna Foothills AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Fortuna Foothills AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make 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 possibility to getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number 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 via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Fortuna Foothills AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Fortuna Foothills and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate 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 broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating 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 programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Finding the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have covered in this article, you should select a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are plenty 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 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 choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ.