How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling College near Dawson Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Dawson GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Dawson GA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with 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 options offered 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 least amount of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Dawson GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, some 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 four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Dawson GA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Dawson GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Dawson and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Dawson GA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Dawson GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Dawson GA HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Dawson GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dawson GA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dawson GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dawson GA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Dawson GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Dawson Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Dawson is a city in and the county seat of Terrell County, Georgia, United States. The population was 4,557 at the 2010 census. Incorporated on December 22, 1857, the city is named for Senator William Crosby Dawson.
Dawson was founded in 1856 as seat of the newly formed Terrell County. It was incorporated as a town in 1857 and as a city in 1872. Terrell was an important site in the 1960s, when the county in which it is located was labeled "Terrible Terrell" by the SNCC. Jackie Robinson helped raise money to rebuild three black churches that were burned in the area.
Dawson is located in Southwest Georgia along U.S. Route 82 and Georgia State Route 520 (Columbus Highway), which leads southeast 8 mi (13 km) to Sasser and northwest 9 mi (14 km) to Parrott. U.S. 82 leads west 21 mi (34 km) to Cuthbert and 47 mi (76 km) to Eufaula, Alabama. Albany is 24 mi (39 km) southeast and Columbus is 63 mi (101 km) northwest.
Online HVAC Degree Dawson GA
Finding the right HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC Degree. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed 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 appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Dawson GA.
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