How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training Near Golden Valley Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Golden Valley AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things 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 benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Golden Valley Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Golden Valley AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Golden Valley AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Golden Valley and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations 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 active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
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, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Golden Valley AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask Heating and Cooling Training Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like 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 Golden Valley AZ area and all over the USA to pick from. That's why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Golden Valley AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available 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 Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Golden Valley AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Golden Valley AZ HVAC professionals. 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. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Golden Valley AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Golden Valley AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased 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 monitor 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 some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Golden Valley AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make 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, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art 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 faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Golden Valley AZ.