How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Degree Program near Ozark Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Ozark AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Ozark AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are some of the important 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 may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify 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 advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Ozark AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Ozark AR, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Ozark AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Ozark and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Ozark AR area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Ozark AR area have acquired 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, such as 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 guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also indicate 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Ozark AR HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Ozark AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Ozark AR HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Ozark AR residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees 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 monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ozark AR, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Ozark AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Ozark Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Ozark is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States and one of the county's two seats of government. The community is located along the Arkansas River in the Arkansas River Valley on the southern edge of the Ozark Mountains. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 3,684.
Incorporated in 1850, Ozark is adjacent to much of Arkansas wine country, and contains a bridge to cross the Arkansas River for travelers heading to points south. The city is also located on Arkansas Highway 23, nicknamed the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, known for its steep drops, sharp curves and scenic mountain views. The city is contained within the Fort Smith metropolitan area.
Native Americans roamed the area freely before Arkansas was a territory. The Cherokee and Osage lived in this area that would later become attractive to settlers. The Ozark area was frequented by French fur trappers and served as a landmark during European exploration of the area. It was these adventurous souls who gave the area and the rolling mountains that rise there their name, Aux Arcs.
How To Become a HVAC Technician Ozark AR
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How To Become a HVAC Technician. However, as we have covered in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Ozark AR.
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