How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling School near Harrisburg Arkansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Harrisburg AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Harrisburg AR HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many 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 technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam 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 field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important 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 school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Harrisburg AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four 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.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Harrisburg AR, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Harrisburg AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Harrisburg and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Harrisburg AR area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Harrisburg AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some 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 considering 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 signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 Harrisburg AR HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Harrisburg AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Harrisburg AR HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Harrisburg AR residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Harrisburg AR, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain 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 responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Harrisburg AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Harrisburg Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Harrisburg is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,288 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the county seat of Poinsett County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,192 people, 855 households, and 582 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,050.4 people per square mile (404.9/km²). There were 928 housing units at an average density of 444.7/sq mi (171.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.66% White, 1.24% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race and 00.01% Other.
There were 855 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.
HVAC Training Schools Harrisburg AR
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Harrisburg AR.
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