How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Eastman Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Eastman GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational 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 commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Eastman GA HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be earned 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 in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Eastman GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering 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 future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Eastman GA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Eastman GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Eastman and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs 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 accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Eastman GA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Eastman GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors 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 more extensive 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 will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Eastman GA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Eastman GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Eastman GA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Eastman GA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Eastman GA, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Eastman GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Eastman Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Eastman is a city in Dodge County, Georgia, United States. The population was 4,962 at the 2010 census. Named after one of the founders who contributed a site and paid for the county courthouse, the city was established in 1871, and is the county seat of Dodge County.
In the 19th century, this was a center of the timber and sawmill industry. During the Great Depression in 1937, the first Stuckey's convenience store, now well known along roadways throughout the Southeastern United States, was founded in Eastman.
The first permanent settlement of the area took place in 1840. The population continued to grow when, in 1869, a station was built for the newly constructed Macon and Brunswick Railroad which passed through the area, stimulating an economic boom. The settlement was originally named Levison and was renamed Eastman by December 1869. Eastman was designated as the seat of newly formed Dodge County in 1871. It was incorporated as a town in 1873 and as a city in 1905. Eastman is named for W. P. Eastman, who, with W. E. Dodge, presented the county with a courthouse.
Online HVAC Classes Eastman GA
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a crucial 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 Classes. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Eastman GA.
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