How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Fitzgerald Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Fitzgerald GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Fitzgerald GA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms 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 desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Fitzgerald GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, some 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Fitzgerald GA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Fitzgerald GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Fitzgerald and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs 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 online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Fitzgerald GA area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated 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 need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fitzgerald GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Fitzgerald GA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Fitzgerald GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fitzgerald GA HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fitzgerald GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fitzgerald GA, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Fitzgerald GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fitzgerald Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The city of Fitzgerald is the county seat of Ben Hill County in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 9,053. It is the principal city of the Fitzgerald Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ben Hill and Irwin counties.
Fitzgerald was developed in 1895 by Philander H. Fitzgerald, an Indianapolis newspaper editor. A former drummer boy in the Union Army during the Civil War, he founded it as a community for war veterans – both from the Union and from the Confederacy. The majority of the first citizens (some 2700) were Union veterans. It was incorporated on December 2, 1896. The town is located less than 15 miles (24 km) from the site where Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10, 1865.
Fitzgerald was an early planned city. It was laid out as a square, with intersecting streets dividing it into four wards. Each of the wards was divided into four blocks and each block had sixteen squares. The first two streets running north–south on the west side of the city were named after Confederate generals Lee and Johnston, whereas the first two on the east side were named after Union generals Grant and Sherman.
HVAC Technical Training Fitzgerald GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technical Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Fitzgerald GA.
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