How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Leeds Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Leeds AL. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Leeds AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to 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 examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Leeds AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, a number of 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 four 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Leeds AL, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Leeds AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Leeds and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
After you have picked 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 certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Leeds AL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Leeds AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance 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. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 list of graduates, which can 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Leeds AL HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Leeds AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Leeds AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Leeds AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may 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 instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Leeds AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Leeds AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Leeds Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Training Leeds AL
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Leeds AL.
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