How to Enroll In the Best Heating and Cooling Certification Training Near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Lake Montezuma AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as six 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 provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Lake Montezuma Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lake Montezuma AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Lake Montezuma AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Lake Montezuma and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
HVAC Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged 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 technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it's important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Trade Schools
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Lake Montezuma AZ area and across the United States to choose from. That's why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Lake Montezuma AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. 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 Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training 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 HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools 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, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lake Montezuma AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk 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, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Lake Montezuma AZ.