How to Choose the Best HVAC Training Class Near Green Valley Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Green Valley AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion 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 take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Green Valley Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Green Valley AZ, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Green Valley AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Green Valley and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Green Valley AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians 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.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Green Valley AZ area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Green Valley AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 Green Valley AZ HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Green Valley AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment 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 instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Green Valley AZ HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Green Valley AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Get Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Green Valley AZ.