How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational 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 need? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few 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. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Fortuna Foothills AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Fortuna Foothills AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Fortuna Foothills AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Fortuna Foothills and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fortuna Foothills AZ HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Fortuna Foothills AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fortuna Foothills AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ.