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How to Enroll In the Best HVAC Training Program Near Pell City Alabama

Pell City Alabama commercial hvac technician installing furnacesNow that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Pell City AL. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

HVAC Degree Courses

Pell City Alabama home air conditioning condensers

There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction 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, typically achieved in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Pell City Al.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of 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.

Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Pell City AL, later returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Pell City Alabama forced air heat registerChoosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Pell City AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Pell City and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.

Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing

HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Pell City AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. 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 attained by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists 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 may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

What to Ask Heating and Cooling Schools

Pell City Alabama hvac technician installing water heater

When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Pell City AL area and across the USA to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Pell City 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce 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 also that it has the network of Pell City AL HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Pell City AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm 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 in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Pell City AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Pell City AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pell City AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make 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, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Pell City HVAC Schools

Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree

Finding the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Pell City AL.


 

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