How to Find the Right HVAC Trade School Near Guadalupe Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Guadalupe AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Guadalupe Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together 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 gaining some experience in the field in Guadalupe AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, 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 option to attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Guadalupe AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Guadalupe and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities 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 Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Guadalupe AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Here 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 proficiency exam and may 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 exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Guadalupe AZ area and all over the USA to choose from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Guadalupe AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Guadalupe AZ HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Guadalupe AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Guadalupe AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Guadalupe AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Guadalupe AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Guadalupe AZ.