How to Select the Right HVAC Program near Evergreen Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Evergreen AL. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant 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 rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
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, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Evergreen AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Evergreen AL.
- Certificate. Generally 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 industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Evergreen AL, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Evergreen AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Evergreen and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Evergreen AL area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Evergreen AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high 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 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Evergreen AL HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Evergreen AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Evergreen AL HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Evergreen AL home. 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 important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors 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 schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Evergreen AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Evergreen AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Evergreen Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
HVAC Technical School Evergreen AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technical School. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to 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. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Evergreen AL.
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