How to Enroll In the Best HVAC Certification Training Near Doney Park Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Doney Park AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training 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 least period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Doney Park Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 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 long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Doney Park AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer 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 attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Doney Park AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Doney Park and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Doney Park AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Doney Park AZ area and throughout the USA to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will consider. 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 Doney Park AZ area have received 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Doney Park AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Doney Park AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Doney Park AZ HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Doney Park AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor 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. Last, talk to some 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 reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Doney Park AZ, confirm 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 policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Doney Park AZ.