How to Pick the Right HVAC Degree Program Near Gold Canyon 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 trade school near Gold Canyon AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Gold Canyon Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Gold Canyon AZ, eventually returning to obtain 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 Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer 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 approach may be a more accessible solution for some Gold Canyon AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Gold Canyon and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively 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 required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Gold Canyon AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely 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
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Gold Canyon AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Gold Canyon AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Gold Canyon AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Gold Canyon AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Gold Canyon AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Gold Canyon AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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 several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gold Canyon AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Picking the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational 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 need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options 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 appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter 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 technician in Gold Canyon AZ.