How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling School Near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion 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 in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Goodyear Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Goodyear AZ, subsequently returning 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 Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Goodyear AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Goodyear and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree 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 widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors 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 every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Goodyear AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few 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 competency exam and may be earned 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to acquire 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 sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Certification Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Goodyear AZ area and all over the Country to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Goodyear AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 more extensive list of graduates, which can 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, check that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Goodyear AZ.