How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Marana Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Marana AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Marana AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 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 area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Marana AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees include 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Marana AZ, later returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Marana 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 Marana and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Marana AZ area and throughout the Country to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Marana AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Marana AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together 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 HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Marana AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Marana AZ residence. Remember 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 important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Marana AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide 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.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available 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 guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Marana AZ.