How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Union Springs Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Union Springs AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely 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 skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Union Springs AL HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here 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 proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Union Springs AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to 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 getting some experience in the field in Union Springs AL, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Union Springs AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Union Springs and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Union Springs AL area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Union Springs AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified 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 list of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Union Springs AL HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Union Springs AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Union Springs AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Union Springs AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Union Springs AL, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Union Springs AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Union Springs Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
Heating and Air Conditioning Certification Programs Union Springs AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Conditioning Certification Programs. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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 whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Union Springs AL.
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