How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class Near Gilbert Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Gilbert AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just 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. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives 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 lesser amount of time, usually completed in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Gilbert Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Gilbert AZ, later returning to earn 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 Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Gilbert AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Gilbert and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central 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 criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Gilbert AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Gilbert AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably 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. Many HVAC trade programs in the Gilbert AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Gilbert AZ HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Gilbert AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Gilbert AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees 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 at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure 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, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are plenty of 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 speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Gilbert AZ.