How to Find the Right HVAC College near Jackson Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Jackson AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors 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 discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Jackson AL HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction 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 minimum period of time, usually achieved in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Jackson AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to 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 getting some experience in the trade in Jackson AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Jackson AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Jackson and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Jackson AL area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Jackson AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Jackson AL HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Jackson AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Jackson AL HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Jackson AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big 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, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jackson AL, verify 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Jackson AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Jackson Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Al Jackson Jr.
Albert J. Jackson Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was an American drummer, producer, and songwriter. He was a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was affectionately dubbed "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability. He was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jackson's father, Al Jackson Sr., led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father's band in 1940, at the age of five. He later played in producer and trumpeter Willie Mitchell's band and at the same time was holding down a chair in the popular Ben Branch Band.
Future bandmates Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn first heard Jackson playing in Mitchell's band at the Flamingo Room, and the all-white Manhattan Club. Mitchell had also hired Booker T. Jones for his band. It was Jones who suggested Jackson be brought to Stax. He said, "You guys need to know about Al." Dunn said that Jackson almost caused his wife to divorce him, because after finishing his own gig at one o'clock, he would stop by a club to hear Jackson and would get home at four or five in the morning; "He was that good!" said Dunn. At first, Jackson was reluctant to join Stax. He felt he could make more money playing live than doing session work. He wanted a guaranteed regular salary to come over to Stax (although he continued to play on sessions produced by Mitchell for Hi Records). And so he became the first Stax session musician to be on a weekly salary.
Associates Degree in HVAC Jackson AL
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Associates Degree in HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are plenty of 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 speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Jackson AL.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 10