How to Pick the Best HVAC Degree Program Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Marana AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Marana Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Marana AZ, eventually 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 Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Marana AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Marana and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Marana AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here 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 exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it's imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Marana AZ area and all over the USA to select from. That's why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Marana AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves 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 agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Marana AZ HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Marana AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Marana AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Marana AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult 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 instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers 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 school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial assistance 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 Marana AZ.