How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course Near Daleville Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Daleville AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Daleville Al.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Daleville AL, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one option to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Daleville AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Daleville and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work 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 hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Daleville AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. 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 earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers 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 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Schools
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Daleville AL area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Daleville AL area have earned 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, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Daleville AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Daleville AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Daleville AL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Daleville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Daleville AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to select an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices 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 proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Daleville AL.