How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Glendale AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Glendale AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Glendale AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Glendale AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Glendale AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Glendale and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs 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 less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Glendale 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 sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers 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 graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Glendale AZ HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together 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 companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Glendale AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Glendale AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Glendale 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 individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Glendale AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Finding the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed 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 exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Glendale AZ.