How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Higden AR

How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Higden Arkansas

air conditioner condensers in Higden ARNow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Higden AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Pro

Higden AR HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Higden AR HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. 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 competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

radiator heater in Higden AR homeThere are several options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Higden AR.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Higden AR, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Classes Online

Higden AR student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Higden AR students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Higden and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.

Questions For HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Higden AR HVAC training schoolsAs soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Higden AR area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Higden AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 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 will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Higden AR HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Higden AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Higden AR HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Higden AR home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Higden AR, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Higden AR?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Higden Arkansas area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Higden, Arkansas

Higden is located in western Cleburne County at 35°34′15″N 92°12′13″W / 35.57083°N 92.20361°W / 35.57083; -92.20361 (35.570949, -92.203544),[4] on the south and west shores of Greers Ferry Lake, a reservoir on the Little Red River. Arkansas Highways 16 and 92 run along the southern edge of the town and cross the lake at The Narrows, connecting Higden to Greers Ferry on the east shore.

At the 2000 census,[6] there were 101 people, 52 households and 34 families residing in the town. The population density was 86.7/km² (225.7/mi²). There were 141 housing units at an average density of 121.0/km² (315.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.06% White, 2.97% Native American, 0.99% from other races, and 1.98% from two or more races. 4.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 52 households of which 15.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.94 and the average family size was 2.37.

How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Higden AR

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on 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 speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Higden AR.

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