How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Marana Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Marana AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Marana AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety 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 minimum amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Marana AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Marana AZ, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Marana AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Marana and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Marana AZ area and across the Country to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Marana AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Marana AZ HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Marana AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Marana AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience 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 handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed 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 profession. Other things to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. 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 informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Marana AZ.