How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Goodyear AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth 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 very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as 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 air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even 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 strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Goodyear AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Goodyear and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Goodyear AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering 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 could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 list 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 will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify 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 at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered 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 field. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Goodyear AZ.