How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Kingman Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Kingman AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to research 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 explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade 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, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Kingman AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Kingman AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Kingman AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all 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 remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Kingman AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Kingman and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Kingman AZ area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Kingman AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Kingman AZ HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Kingman AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Kingman AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Kingman AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed 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 exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Kingman AZ.