How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Course Near Litchfield Park Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Litchfield Park AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as 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 related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Litchfield Park Az.
- Certificate. Generally 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 trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Litchfield Park AZ, later returning to earn a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Litchfield Park AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Litchfield Park and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Licensing and Certification
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors 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 each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Litchfield Park AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Litchfield Park AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That's why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Litchfield Park AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 additionally that it has the network of Litchfield Park AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Litchfield Park AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Litchfield Park AZ HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Litchfield Park AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Earn Your Heating and Cooling Degree or Certificate
Picking the right HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Litchfield Park AZ.