How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Clarendon Arkansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Clarendon AR. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in 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, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Clarendon AR HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following 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 examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, however some courses 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 programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Clarendon AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Clarendon AR, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many 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 participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Clarendon AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Clarendon and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Clarendon AR area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Clarendon AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Clarendon AR HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Clarendon AR HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Clarendon AR HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Clarendon AR home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clarendon AR, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Clarendon AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Clarendon Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Clarendon is a city in, and the county seat of, Monroe County, Arkansas, United States. Located in the Arkansas Delta, the city's position on the White River at the mouth of the Cache River has defined the community since first incorporating in 1859. Although the river has brought devastation and disaster to the city occasionally throughout history, it has also provided economic opportunities, transportation, recreation and tourism to the city.
Once home to a variety of industries, today Clarendon's economy is largely based on agriculture. Similar to many Delta communities, the city's population has been dwindling since mechanization on the farm reduced the number of agricultural-related jobs in the area. At the 2010 Census, the population was 1,664, the lowest value recorded since 1890.
The area around Clarendon was originally populated by various Native American groups. By 1799, French hunters and trappers had built cabins at the mouth of the Cache River. It was the point where The Military Road from Memphis, Tennessee to Little Rock crossed the White River. The Military Road was begun in 1826 and completed in 1828. By that date, a ferry crossing and post office had been established in Clarendon, and the town served as the terminus for a stagecoach line to the west. The Military Road was used as the route for some groups of Native Americans being relocated from eastern states to Oklahoma during the forced relocations commonly known as the Trail of Tears; Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee groups are known to have traveled along it. A railroad bridge across the White River was constructed in 1883 by the Texas and St. Louis Railway; the ferry operated until 1931 when it was replaced by a highway bridge.
Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Courses Clarendon AR
Enrolling in the right HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance 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 filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Clarendon AR.
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