How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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 other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Goodyear AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of 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 provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Goodyear AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Goodyear AZ, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Goodyear AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Goodyear and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the United States to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Goodyear AZ area have received 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 sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm 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 acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions concerning 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 have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Selecting the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Goodyear AZ.