How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling School near Headland Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Headland AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in 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, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Headland AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Headland AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Headland AL, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Headland AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Headland and study supplies 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 career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Headland AL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Headland AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Headland AL HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Headland AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Headland AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Headland AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Headland AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Headland AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Headland Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Headland is the largest city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area. At the 2010 census the population was 4,510, up from 3,523 at the 2000 census. Ray Marler is the current mayor.
The Headland Public Square was laid off in 1871 by J.J. Head with a vision for a branch courthouse. Henry County voters decided in the 1879 and 1885 courthouse site elections not to locate a courthouse on the public square. Henry has been Alabama's only county with three courthouses at the same time.
Headland incorporated in 1884 with 26 white and 4 black petitioners. The railroad was built in 1893 along with the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Depot. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1980. It has since been disassembled.
HVAC Degrees Headland AL
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Degrees. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if 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 comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 contractor in Headland AL.
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