How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Brownsboro Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Brownsboro AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Brownsboro AL HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period 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 related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Brownsboro AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Brownsboro AL, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Brownsboro AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Brownsboro and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Brownsboro AL area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Brownsboro AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 Brownsboro AL HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Brownsboro AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Brownsboro AL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Brownsboro AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brownsboro AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Brownsboro AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Brownsboro Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Air Conditioning Training Brownsboro AL
Selecting the right HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Training. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Brownsboro AL.
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