How to Pick the Best HVAC Certification Training Near Bullhead City Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Bullhead City AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in just 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 provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Bullhead City Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Bullhead City AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Bullhead City AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Bullhead City and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry 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 skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Bullhead City AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important 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 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask Heating and Cooling Certification Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Bullhead City AZ area and all over the United States to choose from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Bullhead City AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bullhead City AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Bullhead City AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently 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 Bullhead City AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Bullhead City AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget 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 comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Bullhead City AZ.