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How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Vocational School Near Moores Mill Alabama

Moores Mill Alabama commercial hvac technician installing furnacesNow that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Moores Mill AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses

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There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational 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 completed in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Moores Mill Al.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Moores Mill AL, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Schools Online

Moores Mill Alabama forced air heat registerChoosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Moores Mill AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Moores Mill and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.

HVAC Certification and Licensing

HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Moores Mill AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

Questions to Ask Heating and Cooling Training Programs

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Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Moores Mill AL area and all over the Country to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical schools in the Moores Mill 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. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Moores Mill AL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Moores Mill AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Moores Mill AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Moores Mill AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Moores Mill HVAC Training Classes

Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree

Picking the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should choose an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Moores Mill AL.


 

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