How to Pick the Best Heating and Cooling Training Class Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Lake Havasu City AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Lake Havasu City Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Lake Havasu City AZ, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Lake Havasu City AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lake Havasu City and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Lake Havasu City AZ.