How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Scottsdale Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Scottsdale AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Scottsdale AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following 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 exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Scottsdale AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Scottsdale AZ, subsequently returning to earn 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 Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Scottsdale AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Scottsdale and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Scottsdale AZ area and throughout the United States to pick from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Scottsdale AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader 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 can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Scottsdale AZ HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Scottsdale AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Scottsdale AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Scottsdale AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, 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 an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose 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 things to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Scottsdale AZ.