How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Marana Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Marana AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Marana AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training 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 least amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Marana AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 appropriate 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, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Marana AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Marana and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Marana AZ area and throughout the United States to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Marana AZ area have acquired 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 an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Marana AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Marana AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Marana AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify 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 in the evening or on weekends near Marana AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Find Out More About Marana HVAC Training Classes Near You
Get Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed 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 things to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Marana AZ.