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How to Choose the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Class Near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona commercial hvac contractor installing furnacesOnce you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Fountain Hills AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools

Fountain Hills Arizona residential A/C condensers

There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Fountain Hills Az.

  • Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Fountain Hills AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Training

Fountain Hills Arizona forced air heat registerChoosing an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many 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 participated in online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Fountain Hills AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Fountain Hills and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.

Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing

HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Fountain Hills AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn 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 HVAC Trade Schools

Fountain Hills Arizona hvac technician installing hot water heater

When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. 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 Fountain Hills AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the teachers 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 directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of Fountain Hills AZ HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Fountain Hills AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fountain Hills AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's important that you get 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 big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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.

Find Out More About Fountain Hills HVAC Training Programs

Earn Your HVAC Certificate or Degree

Finding the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out 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. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Fountain Hills AZ.


 

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