How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Sahuarita Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Sahuarita AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs 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, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Sahuarita AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Sahuarita AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Sahuarita AZ, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving 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 rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Sahuarita AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Sahuarita and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Sahuarita AZ area and throughout the Country to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Sahuarita AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which can 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Sahuarita AZ HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training 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 contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Sahuarita AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Sahuarita AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sahuarita AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sahuarita AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Picking the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have covered 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 things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Sahuarita AZ.