How to Choose the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Course Near Satsuma Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Satsuma AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives 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 lesser period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Satsuma Al.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, 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 conventional 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.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Satsuma AL, subsequently going back to earn 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 Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Satsuma AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Satsuma and study supplies can be reduced, 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 limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Satsuma AL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Satsuma AL area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Satsuma AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Satsuma AL HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical 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. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Satsuma AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Satsuma AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Satsuma AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 important that you receive as much personalized 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 witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Satsuma AL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Picking the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of 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 talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Satsuma AL.