How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Moody AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details 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 other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices 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 least period of time, typically achieved in just 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 programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Moody Al.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives 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 trade in Moody AL, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Moody AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Moody and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Moody AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some 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 examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers 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 must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Moody AL area and throughout the United States to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Moody AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering 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 suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Moody AL HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous 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 inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Moody AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with 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 suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Moody AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Finding the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Moody AL.