How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course Near Laveen Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Laveen AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Laveen 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some degrees feature 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Laveen AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Laveen AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Laveen and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
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 central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Laveen AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following 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 proficiency exam and may be earned 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
What to Ask Heating and Cooling Certification Courses
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Laveen AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Laveen AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Laveen AZ HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Laveen AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment 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 tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Laveen AZ HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Laveen AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher 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 sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Laveen AZ.