How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in 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, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Goodyear AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle 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 wish to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of choices 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 amount of time, often achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Goodyear AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards 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 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 objectives are, as well as 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 getting some experience in the trade in Goodyear AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Goodyear AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Goodyear and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Goodyear AZ area and across the Country to choose from. That's why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Goodyear AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 directory of graduates, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Goodyear AZ HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized training 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 big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Training and Certification
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Goodyear AZ.