How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Phenix City Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Phenix City AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Phenix City AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Phenix City AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Phenix City AL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Phenix City AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Phenix City 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 work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Phenix City AL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Phenix City AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers 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 produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Phenix City AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Phenix City AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Phenix City AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Phenix City 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 charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Phenix City AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Phenix City Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Phenix City, Alabama
Phenix City lies immediately west across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. Sometimes called Hub City, Most of Phenix City is included in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a section is located in Lee County, and is therefore in the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire city is part of the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika Combined Statistical Area.
Phenix City is located at 32°28′22″N 85°1′12″W / 32.47278°N 85.02000°W / 32.47278; -85.02000 (32.472822, -85.020121). It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Alabama as well as the Central Time Zone, but it and some other nearby areas unofficially observe Eastern Time, as these areas are part of the metropolitan area of the considerably larger city of Columbus, Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Phenix City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
HVAC Night Classes Phenix City AL
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Night Classes. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and modern 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 faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed 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 right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Phenix City AL.
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