How to Enroll In the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Course Near Big Park Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Big Park AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Big Park Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually 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 suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and money 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 field in Big Park AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Big Park AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Big Park and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Big Park AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Trade Schools
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Big Park AZ area and all over the United States to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Big Park AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Big Park AZ HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Big Park AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Big Park AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Big Park AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Big Park AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate 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 educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Big Park AZ.