How to Choose the Best Heating and Cooling Certificate Program Near Globe Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Globe AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Globe Az.
- Certificate. Generally 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 extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 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 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Globe AZ, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Globe AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Globe and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Globe AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Globe AZ area and all over the United States to pick from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Globe AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Globe AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Globe AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Globe AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Globe AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Globe AZ, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Globe AZ.