How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Sun City Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Sun City AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Sun City AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Sun City AZ.
- Certificate. Usually 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 industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 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 geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Sun City AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Sun City AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Sun City and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Sun City AZ area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Sun City AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Sun City AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Sun City AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Sun City AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Sun City AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sun City AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree and Certification
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling 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 exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter 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 technician in Sun City AZ.