How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course Near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Chandler AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Chandler Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide 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 and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together 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 acquiring some experience in the trade in Chandler AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete 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 can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Chandler AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Chandler and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments 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 busy lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Chandler AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, 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 essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the Country to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Chandler AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, 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 guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Chandler AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical 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 contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Chandler AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Chandler AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Chandler AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chandler AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Enrolling in the right HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down 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 specialist in Chandler AZ.