How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling School near Oakman Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Oakman AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Oakman AL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many 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 acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved 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 relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Oakman AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Oakman AL, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Oakman AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Oakman and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Oakman AL area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Oakman AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Oakman AL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Oakman AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Oakman AL HVAC contractor 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 Oakman AL residence. Remember 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 important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Oakman AL, check that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Oakman AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Oakman Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
HVAC College Courses Oakman AL
Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC College Courses. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Oakman AL.
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