How to Find the Best Heating and Cooling Trade School Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Moody AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Moody Al.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Moody AL, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Moody AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Moody and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Moody AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Moody AL area and across the Country to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Moody AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean 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 additionally that it has the network of Moody AL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational 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 trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Moody AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Moody AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Moody AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Earn Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training 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 aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Moody AL.