How to Enroll In the Best HVAC Certification Training Near Trussville Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Trussville AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, although some programs 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 can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Trussville Al.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Trussville AL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Trussville AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Trussville and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of 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. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Trussville AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Trussville AL area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Trussville AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Trussville AL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Trussville AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Trussville AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Trussville AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Trussville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, 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
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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 options and if 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 right questions as we have detailed in our checklist 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 professional in Trussville AL.