How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Willcox Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Willcox AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Willcox AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few 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 exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives 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 least period of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Willcox AZ.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 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 appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Willcox AZ, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of 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 many Willcox AZ students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Willcox and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Willcox AZ area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Willcox AZ area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 Willcox AZ HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Willcox AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Willcox AZ HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Willcox AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased 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 monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Willcox AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Willcox AZ?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Willcox Arizona area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox had the distinction of being a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.
Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Willcox was among the locations of 26 Men (1957–1959), another syndicated series that depicted true stories of the Arizona Rangers starring Tristram Coffin and Kelo Henderson.
Willcox is located in northern Cochise County at 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556 (32.255622, -109.835520) in the Sulphur Springs Valley. Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning Willcox AZ
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schools for Heating and Air Conditioning. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are ample 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 inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices 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 Willcox AZ.
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