How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Kingman Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Kingman AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection 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 evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Kingman AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in just six months, though some courses 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 programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Kingman AZ.
- Certificate. Normally 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 employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, 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 conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Kingman AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Kingman AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Kingman and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited 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 Certification Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Kingman AZ area and throughout the USA to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Kingman AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Kingman AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Kingman AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Kingman AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Kingman AZ.