How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Course near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things 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. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Goodyear AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists 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 might be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Goodyear AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Goodyear AZ, later returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for 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 can be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Goodyear AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Goodyear and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Goodyear AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Goodyear AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Goodyear HVAC Programs Near You
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is an important first step toward a fulfilling 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 certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Goodyear AZ.