How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Sahuarita Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Sahuarita AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Sahuarita AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically completed in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Sahuarita AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment 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. Usually taking two years to complete, some 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 air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Sahuarita AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing 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 take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Sahuarita AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Sahuarita and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Sahuarita AZ area and across the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Sahuarita AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct 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 list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Sahuarita AZ HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Sahuarita AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment 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 with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Sahuarita AZ HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Sahuarita AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sahuarita AZ, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. 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 outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Sahuarita AZ.