How to Select the Best Heating and Cooling Training Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the price 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 investigate. Some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let's look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Goodyear Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish 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. Normally taking two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Goodyear AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Goodyear AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Goodyear and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Goodyear AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it's imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the United States to select from. That's why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors 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 Goodyear AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage 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 indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction 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 HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Goodyear AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Goodyear AZ HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one 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 observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer 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 because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Finding the right HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Goodyear AZ.