Heat and Air School Phoenix AZ

How to Select the Right HVAC College near Phoenix Arizona

air conditioner condensers in Phoenix AZNow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things 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 explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Contractor

Phoenix AZ HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Phoenix AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Degree Classes

radiator heater in Phoenix AZ homeThere are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, however 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 training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Phoenix AZ.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Phoenix AZ, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Training Online

Phoenix AZ student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Phoenix AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Phoenix and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career 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 to Ask HVAC Training Classes

Questions to ask Phoenix AZ HVAC training schoolsOnce you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Phoenix AZ area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical programs in the Phoenix AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Phoenix AZ HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC training programs are taught along 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 companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Phoenix AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Phoenix AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Phoenix AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Phoenix AZ?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Phoenix Arizona area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.[5][6]

Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 11th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update].[7] In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.[8]

Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889.[9] Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate.[10][11] Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with many of the original crops, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay, remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades.[12][13] Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.[14]

Heat and Air School Phoenix AZ

Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heat and Air School. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical 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 speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening 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 proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Phoenix AZ.

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