How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling School Near Holbrook Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Holbrook AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just 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 additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction 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 lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, although 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 programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Holbrook Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Holbrook AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Holbrook AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Holbrook and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians specialize in 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, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Holbrook AZ HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, 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 intend to earn certification, it's important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Holbrook AZ area and throughout the United States to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Holbrook AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Holbrook AZ HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Holbrook AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Holbrook AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Holbrook AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Holbrook AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your choices 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 Holbrook AZ.