How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near San Luis Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near San Luis AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details that you need to research 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 in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for San Luis AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near San Luis AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically 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 towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources 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 trade in San Luis AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some San Luis AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from San Luis and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the San Luis AZ area and all over the Country to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the San Luis AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire 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. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of San Luis AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local San Luis AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local San Luis AZ HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your San Luis AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized 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 witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise 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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Luis AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in San Luis AZ.