How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Queen Creek Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Queen Creek AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. 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 investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Queen Creek AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be received 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory 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.
Considering that licensing might 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 handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses 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 training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Queen Creek AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as 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 gaining some experience in the field in Queen Creek AZ, subsequently returning to acquire 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 Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Queen Creek AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Queen Creek and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Queen Creek AZ area and throughout the Country to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Queen Creek AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Queen Creek AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Queen Creek AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Queen Creek AZ HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Queen Creek AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Queen Creek AZ, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Picking the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Queen Creek AZ.