How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training near Sahuarita Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Sahuarita AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Sahuarita AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to 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 examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however 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 programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Sahuarita AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Sahuarita AZ, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Sahuarita AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Sahuarita and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Sahuarita AZ area and all over the United States to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Sahuarita AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sahuarita AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Sahuarita AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Sahuarita AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Sahuarita AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sahuarita AZ, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper 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 informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Sahuarita AZ.