How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling College near Hanceville Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Hanceville AL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Hanceville AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the significant 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 can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Hanceville AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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 appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Hanceville AL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Hanceville AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Hanceville and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Hanceville AL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Hanceville AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Hanceville AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical 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 comparing have working relationships with local Hanceville AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Hanceville AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Hanceville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanceville AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Hanceville AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Hanceville Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Founded in Blount County, Hanceville was incorporated in May 1879. At the time of Cullman County's creation in 1877, half of Hanceville resided in each county. In 1885, county boundaries were redrawn and all of Hanceville was placed within Blount County. In 1901, county boundaries were redrawn again and this time all of the town was placed within Cullman County, for which it has remained.
Hanceville is located in southeastern Cullman County at 34°3′48″N 86°45′39″W / 34.06333°N 86.76083°W / 34.06333; -86.76083 (34.063463, -86.760908).U.S. Route 31 passes through the city, leading north 9 miles (14 km) to Cullman, the county seat, and south 14 miles (23 km) to Smoke Rise.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,951 people, 1,167 households, and 710 families residing in the city. The population density was 718.6 people per square mile (277.2/km²). There were 1,323 housing units at an average density of 322.2 per square mile (124.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.09% White, 4.61% Black or African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 2.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
HVAC Schools Cost Hanceville AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools Cost. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night 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 right questions as we have detailed 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Hanceville AL.
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