How to Find the Best HVAC Certification Course Near Catalina Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Catalina AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors 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. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction 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 lesser period of time, often completed in as little as six months, although some programs 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 programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Catalina Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature 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 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Catalina AZ, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Catalina AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Catalina and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Catalina AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Certification Courses
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Catalina AZ area and across the USA to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 factors you will consider. 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 Catalina AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, 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 organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Catalina AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Catalina AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Catalina AZ HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Catalina AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots 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 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 aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Catalina AZ.