How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Tanque Verde Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Tanque Verde AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Tanque Verde AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result 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 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several choices 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 least period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Tanque Verde AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally 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 for 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives 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 field in Tanque Verde AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Tanque Verde AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Tanque Verde and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities 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 active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Tanque Verde AZ area and across the USA to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables 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 programs in the Tanque Verde AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 list of alumni, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Tanque Verde AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Tanque Verde AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Tanque Verde AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Tanque Verde AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tanque Verde AZ, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Degree and Certification
Selecting the right HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you should select 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 features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Tanque Verde AZ.