How to Choose the Right HVAC School near Elberton Georgia
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Elberton GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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 benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Elberton GA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are available. 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 received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple 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 additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, typically completed in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Elberton GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually 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 tailored more towards 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Elberton GA, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Elberton GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Elberton and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Elberton GA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Elberton GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Elberton GA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Elberton GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Elberton GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Elberton GA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Elberton GA, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Elberton GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Elberton Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Settled in the 1780s, Elbert was designated seat of the newly formed Elbert County in 1790. It was incorporated as a town in 1803 and as a city in 1896. Like Elbert County, Elberton is named for Samuel Elbert.
Elberton is located near the center of Elbert County at 34°6′35″N 82°51′56″W / 34.10972°N 82.86556°W / 34.10972; -82.86556 (34.109628, -82.865669). State Routes 17 and 72 pass east-west through the center of town as College Avenue, while 77 crosses north-south on Oliver Street. GA 17 leads northwest 19 miles (31 km) to Royston and southeast 29 miles (47 km) to Washington, GA 72 leads east 15 miles (24 km) to the South Carolina border at Richard B. Russell Lake on the Savannah River and west 35 miles (56 km) to Athens, and GA 77 leads north 18 miles (29 km) to Hartwell and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Lexington.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Elberton has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km2), of which 4.7 square miles (12.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.72%, is water.
HVAC Online Schools Elberton GA
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Online Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Elberton GA.
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