How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training Near Daphne Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Daphne AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training 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 least period of time, typically accomplished in as little as 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 relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Daphne Al.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Daphne AL, subsequently going back to earn 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 Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Daphne AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Daphne and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Daphne AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Daphne AL area and all over the United States to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Daphne AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Daphne AL HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of 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 within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Daphne AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Daphne AL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Daphne AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Daphne AL.