How to Find the Best HVAC Vocational School Near Cave Creek Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Cave Creek AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details that you need to look into 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 in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade 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 accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Cave Creek Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 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 tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Cave Creek AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Cave Creek AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Cave Creek and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Cave Creek AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. 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 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together 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 technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Cave Creek AZ area and throughout the USA to choose from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Cave Creek AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Cave Creek AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Cave Creek AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Cave Creek AZ HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Cave Creek AZ residence. Remember 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 get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple 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 comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Cave Creek AZ.