How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course near New River Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near New River AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for New River AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following 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 may be earned 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 together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians 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 mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade 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 achieved in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can 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 option offered near New River AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in New River AZ, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many New River AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from New River and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the New River AZ area and throughout the USA to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the New River AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of New River AZ HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction 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 companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local New River AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local New River AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your New River AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near New River AZ, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in New River AZ.