How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program Near Coolidge Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Coolidge AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of choices 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 minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Coolidge Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 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 towards 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 learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Coolidge AZ, later returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many 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 participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Coolidge AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Coolidge and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Coolidge AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Training Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the United States to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Coolidge AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Coolidge AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Coolidge AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Coolidge AZ HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Coolidge AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Coolidge AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have covered in this article, you need to choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Coolidge AZ.