How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Green Valley AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things 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 criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let's look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Green Valley Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally 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 for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate 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 possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Green Valley AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Green Valley AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Green Valley and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Green Valley AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Green Valley AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Green Valley AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Green Valley AZ HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Green Valley AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Green Valley AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Green Valley AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, check that the programs 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. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Green Valley AZ.