How to Find the Best HVAC Vocational School Near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Lake Montezuma AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Lake Montezuma Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting 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 possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lake Montezuma 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 considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Lake Montezuma AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Lake Montezuma and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, 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 important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Lake Montezuma AZ area and across the USA 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 most likely be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Lake Montezuma AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 list 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Montezuma AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Lake Montezuma AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Earn Your HVAC Certificate or Degree
Finding the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit 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 whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Lake Montezuma AZ.