How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Sun City Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Sun City AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors 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 other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Sun City AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below 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 proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed 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 provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training 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, typically completed in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Sun City AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, many 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 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.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Sun City AZ, later going back to acquire 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 Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Sun City AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Sun City and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Sun City AZ area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Sun City AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Sun City AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Sun City AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sun City AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sun City AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some 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 opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
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 attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sun City AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered 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 profession. Other things to search for are ample hands-on 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 talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined 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 appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Sun City AZ.