How to Choose the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Training Near Albertville Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Albertville AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Albertville Al.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Albertville AL, later going back to earn 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 approach to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many 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 may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Albertville AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Albertville and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Albertville AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers 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 three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types 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 location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Training Classes
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Albertville AL area and throughout the USA to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Albertville AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of Albertville AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction 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 Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Albertville AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Albertville AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Albertville AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Albertville AL.