How to Enroll In the Best HVAC Certification Course Near Saks Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Saks AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs 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 training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Saks Al.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 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 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Saks AL, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number 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 accessible solution for many Saks AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Saks and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Saks AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained 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 field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Certification Courses
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Saks AL area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Saks AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Saks AL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Saks AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Saks AL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Saks AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Saks AL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Picking the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Saks AL.