How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Class Near Kingman Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Kingman AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 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 may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Kingman Az.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Kingman AZ, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. 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 remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Kingman AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Kingman and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. 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, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy 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 contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Kingman AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination 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 field experience together with 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 exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it's essential 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 program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Kingman AZ area and across the United States to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Kingman AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of Kingman AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Kingman AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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 regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Kingman AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk 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. Make sure 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 in the evening or on weekends near Kingman AZ, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Selecting the right HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Kingman AZ.