How to Pick the Best Heating and Cooling Training Class Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Fort Mohave AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Fort Mohave Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Fort Mohave AZ, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Fort Mohave AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Fort Mohave and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy 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 technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Fort Mohave AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination 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 field experience in addition to 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 result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Fort Mohave AZ HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Fort Mohave AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Fort Mohave AZ HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fort Mohave AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult 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 experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Fort Mohave AZ.