How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Program Near Moores Mill Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Moores Mill AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Moores Mill Al.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Moores Mill AL, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require 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 rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Moores Mill AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Moores Mill 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 responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Moores Mill AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Schools
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Moores Mill AL area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Moores Mill AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Moores Mill AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Moores Mill AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish 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 working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Moores Mill AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Moores Mill AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees 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 sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Moores Mill AL.