How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Camden Arkansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Camden AR. But with so many to select from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant factors to consider, 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 other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
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, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Camden AR HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn 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 sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational 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 achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Camden AR.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Camden AR, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Camden AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Camden and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Camden AR area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Camden AR area have attained 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 an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Camden AR HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
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 within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Camden AR HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Camden AR HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Camden AR home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Camden AR, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Camden AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Camden Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
In 2000, Camden had a population of 13,154, but it lost 7.4 percent of its residents and recorded 12,183 in 2010.  Camden is the principal city of the Camden Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ouachita and Calhoun counties.
Indigenous peoples of various cultures lived along the rivers of Arkansas for thousands of years and created complex societies. Mississippian culture peoples built massive earthwork mounds along the Ouachita River, beginning circa 1000.
The region was part of French Louisiana from 1682-1762. The Indians who had given their name to the river had died out or moved on by the mid-1700s. The land along the Ouachita River was inhabited by remnants of several Indian tribes, and the river was home to a small population of mostly French hunters, trappers and traders. Then, in 1763, Spain acquired Louisiana by treaty, but the culture remained decidedly French.
Air Conditioner Course Camden AR
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Course. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Camden AR.
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