How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Class Near Eufaula Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Eufaula AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction 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 lesser period of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Eufaula Al.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 right credential program will be based on what your future 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Eufaula AL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Eufaula AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Eufaula and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. 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 easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Eufaula AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be received 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 need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, 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 probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For HVAC Schools
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Eufaula AL area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Eufaula AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train 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 graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Eufaula AL HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Eufaula AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Eufaula AL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Eufaula AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Eufaula AL, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Eufaula AL.