How to Pick the Right HVAC College near Marianna Arkansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Marianna AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors 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 criteria will be covered 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 air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Marianna AR HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. 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. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as 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 work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, 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 desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Marianna AR.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Marianna AR, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Marianna AR students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Marianna and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Marianna AR area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Marianna AR area have attained 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 relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, 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 Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Marianna AR HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Marianna AR HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing 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 school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Marianna AR HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Marianna AR home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marianna 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. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Marianna AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Marianna Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Marianna is a city in and the county seat of Lee County, Arkansas, United States. Located along the L'Anguille River in the Arkansas Delta just north of the St. Francis National Forest, the community was known as Walnut Ridge until 1852 when it became known as Marianna. The city's economy has historically been based on agricultural, especially cotton production. The city is located along Crowley's Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road, both National Scenic Byways showcasing Crowley's Ridge and the Mississippi River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), all land. The town's current mayor is Hon. Mayor Jimmy Williams who took office on January 1, 2011.
As of the census of 2010, there were 4,115 people, 1,664 households, and 1,068 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,440.0 people per square mile (555.7/km²). There were 2,196 housing units at an average density of 610.4 per square mile (235.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 20.9% White, 76.6% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
HVAC Online Training Marianna AR
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Online Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Marianna AR.
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