How to Select the Right HVAC Program Near Daleville Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Daleville AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research 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 in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Daleville Al.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate 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 option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Daleville AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Daleville AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Daleville and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
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 central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Daleville AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some 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 examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with 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 technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Daleville AL area and across the United States to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Daleville AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Daleville AL HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Daleville AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Daleville AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Daleville AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out 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 evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Daleville AL, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, 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
Enrolling in the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally 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 instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Daleville AL.