How to Select the Right HVAC Training Program Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Fort Mohave AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Fort Mohave Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, some 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Fort Mohave AZ, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some 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 may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Fort Mohave AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Fort Mohave and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities 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 active schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
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 air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Fort Mohave AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Training Classes
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area and all over the United States to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Fort Mohave AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Fort Mohave AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along 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 Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Fort Mohave AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fort Mohave AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fort Mohave AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers 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.
Earn Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing 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 Fort Mohave AZ.