How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Class Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Flowing Wells AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Flowing Wells Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Flowing Wells AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your education and earning 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Flowing Wells AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Flowing Wells and study supplies can 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 limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Flowing Wells AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected 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 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 must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Flowing Wells AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Flowing Wells AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Flowing Wells AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options 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 Flowing Wells AZ.