How to Select the Right HVAC Degree Program near Bauxite Arkansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Bauxite AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to research 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Bauxite AR HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Bauxite AR.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Bauxite AR, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Bauxite AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Bauxite and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Bauxite AR area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Bauxite AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bauxite AR HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training 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 within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Bauxite AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Bauxite AR HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bauxite AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bauxite AR, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Bauxite AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Bauxite Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Bauxite is a town in Saline County, Arkansas, United States. Located within Central Arkansas, the town is named for bauxite, the source ore for aluminium, which was found in abundant quantities in the area and became a source of aluminium refining. The town's population boomed during expanded aluminium production during World War II and shrank rapidly with output of the ore. Bauxite was incorporated as a town in 1973. The population was 487 at the 2010 census.
The ore for which the town is named was discovered in the area in the early 1890s and mined by the General Bauxite Company until 1905, when the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, a northeastern aluminium refining company, purchased vast tracts of land in Saline County after learning of the high-quality ore that was being shipped from the area. The company bought out the local producers of the ore, including the General Bauxite Company. Pittsburgh Reduction would go on to incorporate as the Aluminum Company of America, or ALCOA.
Production of the ore rose rapidly, growing from 200,000 short tons (180,000 t) in 1914 during World War I, to 560,000 short tons (510,000 t) by war's end in 1918. With decreased demand and an expanded source base in South America, Arkansas production levels fluctuated with demand, dropping as low as 60,000 short tons (54,000 t) per annum in the mid-1930s.
HVAC Technician Training Cost Bauxite AR
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technician Training Cost. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Bauxite AR.
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