How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Training Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Marana AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let's look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Marana Az.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Marana AZ, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Marana AZ students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Marana and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Marana AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it's important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Marana AZ area and throughout the Country to select from. That's why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Marana AZ area have earned 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, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Marana AZ HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Marana AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to 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 can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be 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 issues.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Certificate or Degree
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this post, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Marana AZ.