How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Program Near Laveen Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Laveen AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Laveen Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, many 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with 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 field in Laveen AZ, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Laveen AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Laveen and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Laveen AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Laveen AZ area and throughout the United States to pick from. That's why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Laveen AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some 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 may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may 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 broader 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Laveen AZ HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Laveen AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Laveen AZ HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Laveen AZ residence. Remember 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 important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Laveen AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Finding the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Laveen AZ.