How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class Near Chino Valley Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Chino Valley AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Chino Valley Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared 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.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Chino Valley AZ, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require 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 can be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Chino Valley AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Chino Valley and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Chino Valley AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's essential that you pick 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 pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Trade Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Chino Valley AZ area and across the USA to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Chino Valley AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm 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 ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Chino Valley AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Chino Valley AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Chino Valley AZ HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Chino Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chino Valley AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Picking the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Chino Valley AZ.