How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling College near Kingman Arizona
Now that you have made 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 select from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some 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. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry 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 generally mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Kingman AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain 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 choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however 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 may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Kingman AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Kingman AZ, later going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Kingman AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Kingman and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Kingman AZ area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Kingman AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list 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 can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Kingman AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Kingman AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Training and Certification
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Kingman AZ.