How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Training Class Near Maricopa Arizona
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Maricopa AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to research 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Maricopa Az.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Maricopa AZ, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Maricopa AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Maricopa and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous 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 HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Heating and Cooling Certification and Licensing
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Maricopa AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Below 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 exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it's imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade 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 preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
Questions For Heating and Cooling Schools
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Maricopa AZ area and across the USA to select from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Maricopa AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also 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 result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Maricopa AZ HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Maricopa AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Maricopa AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Maricopa AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees 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 monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers 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 reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Get Your HVAC Degree or Certificate
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you need to 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 search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don't forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Maricopa AZ.