How To Become a HVAC Tech Norman AR

How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling College near Norman Arkansas

air conditioner condensers in Norman ARNow that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Norman AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Contractor

Norman AR HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Norman AR HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs

radiator heater in Norman AR homeThere are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually completed in just six months, though 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 training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Norman AR.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 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 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Norman AR, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Courses Online

Norman AR student attending HVAC school onlineAttending an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Norman AR students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Norman and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Norman AR HVAC training schoolsAfter you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Norman AR area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC trade programs in the Norman AR area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors 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 more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Norman AR HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Norman AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Norman AR HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Norman AR residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Norman AR, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Norman AR?

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

Norman, Arkansas

There is a Caddo Native American burial ground on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials, led by then mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendents of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 423 people, 190 households, and 117 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.8/km² (364.8/mi²). There were 224 housing units at an average density of 74.6/km² (193.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.56% White, 1.42% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. 2.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 190 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.

How To Become a HVAC Tech Norman AR

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How To Become a HVAC Tech. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should choose an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered 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 detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Norman AR.

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