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How to Select the Right HVAC Training Program Near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama commercial hvac technician installing furnacesNow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Moody AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to investigate 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 explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

Moody Alabama residential A/C condensers

There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Moody Al.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, some 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Moody AL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Moody Alabama forced air heat registerAttending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Moody AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Moody and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.

Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification

HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Moody AL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

Questions For HVAC Certification Courses

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After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Moody AL area and throughout the United States to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC vocational schools in the Moody AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Moody AL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Moody AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Moody AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Moody AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Moody HVAC Training Schools

Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree

Finding the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Moody AL.


 

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