How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Class near Queen Creek Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Queen Creek AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Queen Creek AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers 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 must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists 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 required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Queen Creek AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many 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 conventional four 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 appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Queen Creek AZ, eventually returning to obtain 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 possibility to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Queen Creek AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Queen Creek and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire 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 technical schools in the Queen Creek AZ area and across the Country to pick from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Queen Creek AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Queen Creek AZ HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Queen Creek AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Queen Creek AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Queen Creek AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit 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 teaching 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 appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Queen Creek AZ.