How to Enroll In the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Class Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Florence AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Florence Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Florence AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most 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 in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Florence AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Florence and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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 skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Florence AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Florence AZ area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Florence AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Florence AZ HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Florence AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing 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 campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Florence AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Finding the right HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. 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 educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Florence AZ.