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How to Enroll In the Best HVAC School Near Lake Havasu City Arizona

Lake Havasu City Arizona commercial hvac tech installing furnacesOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Lake Havasu City AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs

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There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related 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 short description of each option offered near Lake Havasu City Az.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. 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 and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lake Havasu City AZ, later returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Schools Online

Lake Havasu City Arizona central heating registerChoosing an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Lake Havasu City AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Lake Havasu City and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.

HVAC Certification and Licensing

HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed 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. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms 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 intend to earn certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes

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When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and all over the United States to choose 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 initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area have acquired 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 pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the HVAC 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 low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Lake Havasu City HVAC Tech Schools

Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree

Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Lake Havasu City AZ.


 

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