How to Choose the Best HVAC Certification Course Near Avondale Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Avondale AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Avondale Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Avondale AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some 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 online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Avondale AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Avondale and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Avondale AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. 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 earned by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs 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.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Avondale AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Avondale AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Avondale AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Avondale AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Avondale AZ HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Avondale AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Finding the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to filter 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 professional in Avondale AZ.