How to Pick the Right HVAC Degree Program near Nogales Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Nogales AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Nogales AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few 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 acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Nogales AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically 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 tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Nogales AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure 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 approach to getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many 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 practical solution for many Nogales AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Nogales and study supplies can 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Nogales AZ area and across the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Nogales 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 pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Nogales AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Nogales 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 build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Nogales AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Nogales AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Nogales AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, 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 Training and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC training 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 choose 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 features to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Nogales AZ.