How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling School near Brookwood Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Brookwood AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details that you need to research 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Brookwood AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire 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 working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate 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. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Brookwood AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with 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 getting some experience in the trade in Brookwood AL, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Brookwood AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Brookwood and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Brookwood AL area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Brookwood AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain 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 obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Brookwood AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Brookwood AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus 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 tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Brookwood AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Brookwood AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookwood AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Brookwood AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Brookwood Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Brookwood is a town in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in September 1977. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town is 1,828. It is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,483 people, 553 households, and 430 families residing in the town. The population density was 182.3 people per square mile (70.4/km2). There were 613 housing units at an average density of 75.4 per square mile (29.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.91% White, 0.54% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.20% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. 0.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 553 households out of which 42.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.2% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.07.
HVAC Education Brookwood AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Education. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Brookwood AL.
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