How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Course Near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Corona De Tucson AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Corona De Tucson Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Corona De Tucson AZ, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Corona De Tucson AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Corona De Tucson and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic 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 professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required 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 made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Corona De Tucson AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Corona De Tucson AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Corona De Tucson AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Corona De Tucson AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger 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 instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Corona De Tucson AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out 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 right HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Corona De Tucson AZ.