How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling College near West Memphis Arkansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near West Memphis AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade 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 skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for West Memphis AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near West Memphis AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning 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 delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, many 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 conventional 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in West Memphis AR, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many West Memphis AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from West Memphis and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the West Memphis AR area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the West Memphis AR area have earned 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 an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. 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 Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train 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 directory of graduates, which may result in 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Memphis AR HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local West Memphis AR HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local West Memphis 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 West Memphis AR home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications 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 West Memphis AR, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near West Memphis AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the West Memphis Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Air Conditioning Course West Memphis AR
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Course. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in West Memphis AR.
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