How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Training Near Jasper Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Jasper AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation 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 explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several options offered for HVAC training 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 lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, although some courses 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 can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Jasper Al.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally 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 for a career in management or even 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 study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Jasper AL, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Jasper AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Jasper and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Jasper AL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. 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 achieved by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with 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 techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Jasper AL area and across the Country to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Jasper AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Jasper AL HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along 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 contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Jasper AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art 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 with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Jasper AL HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Jasper AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training 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 instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 Jasper AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask 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 as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Jasper AL.