How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Douglas Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Douglas AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Douglas AZ HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however 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 can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Douglas AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of 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 standard 4 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.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Douglas AZ, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many 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 participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Douglas AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Douglas and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, 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 technical schools in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Douglas AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing 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 may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Douglas AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Douglas AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Douglas AZ HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Douglas AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Douglas AZ?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Douglas Arizona area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States that lies in the north-west to south-east running San Bernardino Valley within which runs the Rio San Bernardino. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico at Agua Prieta and a history of mining.
The Douglas area was first settled by the Spanish in the 18th century. Presidio de San Bernardino was established in 1776 and abandoned in 1780. It was located a few miles east of present-day Douglas. The United States Army established Camp San Bernardino in the latter half of the 19th century near the presidio, and in 1910 Camp Douglas was built next to the town.
Douglas was founded as an American smelter town, to treat the copper ores of nearby Bisbee, Arizona. The town is named after mining pioneer Dr. James Douglas and was incorporated in 1905. Two copper smelters operated at the site. The Calumet and Arizona Company Smelter was built in 1902. The Copper Queen operated in Douglas from 1904 until 1931, when the Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased the Calumet and Arizona Company and took over their smelter. The Calumet and Arizona smelter then became the Douglas Reduction Works. Douglas was the site of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation Douglas Reduction Works until its closure in 1987. The smoke stacks of the smelter were not taken down until January 13, 1991. The town was a site of the Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983.
How To Become an HVAC Tech Douglas AZ
Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How To Become an HVAC Tech. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak 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 evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 specialist in Douglas AZ.
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