How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Covington Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Covington GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Covington GA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional 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 result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Covington GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Covington GA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Covington GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Covington and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Covington GA area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Covington GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest 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 directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of Covington GA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Covington GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Covington GA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Covington GA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs 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 Covington GA, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Covington GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Covington Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Covington was founded by European immigrants to the United States. It was incorporated in 1822 as the seat of the newly organized Newton County. Covington was named for United States Army Brigadier General and United States Congressman Leonard Covington, a hero of the War of 1812. The settlement grew with the advent of the railroad in 1845. Covington incorporated as a city in 1854.
The Covington Historic District and the North Covington Historic District within the city are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The maps and materials describing these two districts are available for review through City Hall. The Covington Historic District contains Floyd Street and the downtown square. The North Covington Historic District contains North Emory Street and Odum Street as its hub. Both districts have an ordinance to preserve their character, regulating changes proposed for properties, and special permits may be required.
The Covington Mill Village is also a vital part of local history. The Starrsville Historic District, site of the historic settlement of Starrsville, is in the exurban area around Covington. The Newton County Courthouse, brick store, and Salem campground are separately NRHP-listed.
HVAC College Covington GA
Picking the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC College. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. 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 options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Covington GA.
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