How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Degree Program near Pike Road Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Pike Road AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Pike Road AL HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various 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 could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Pike Road AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Pike Road AL, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Pike Road AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Pike Road and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Pike Road AL area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Pike Road AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Pike Road AL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Pike Road AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Pike Road AL HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Pike Road AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pike Road AL, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Pike Road AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Pike Road Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Pike Road, Alabama
Pike Road is a town in Montgomery County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 310. The 2010 census indicated a population of 5,406. It is part of the Montgomery metropolitan area.
The current town council members are: Chris Dunn, Angie Bradsher, Betsy Atkins, Leroy Tolliver and Rob Steindorff. The Pike Road Town Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month as well as the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the council chamber at Pike Road Town Hall (9575 Vaughn Road).
By the time of the 2010 census, there were 5,406 people residing in Pike Road with the town now having 1,933 households, and 1606 families. The town's population grew almost 20-fold since the 2000 census, making it one of the fastest growing incorporated places in Alabama with a population of over 5,000 in 2010. Population is 8,777 as of 2016.
HVAC Service Manager Training Pike Road AL
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Service Manager Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction 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 ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Pike Road AL.
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