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How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Class near Lake Havasu City Arizona

Lake Havasu City Arizona home air conditioning condensersOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Lake Havasu City AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Specialist

Lake Havasu City Arizona Heating and Cooling Technician servicing A/C condenserHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below 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 competency examination and can 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses

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There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Lake Havasu City AZ.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees feature 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Lake Havasu City AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Schools

Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Lake Havasu City AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Lake Havasu City and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses

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After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC trade 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Lake Havasu City Heating and Cooling Schools Near You

Get Your HVAC Training and Certification

Picking the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lake Havasu City AZ.