How to Pick the Best Heating and Cooling School Near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Corona De Tucson AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially 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 deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Corona De Tucson Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, many degrees feature 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Corona De Tucson AZ, later going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Corona De Tucson AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Corona De Tucson and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. 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 achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Corona De Tucson AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Corona De Tucson AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Corona De Tucson AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Corona De Tucson AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you should pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Corona De Tucson AZ.