How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Flowery Branch Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Flowery Branch GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Flowery Branch GA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Flowery Branch GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Flowery Branch GA, later 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 Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Flowery Branch GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Flowery Branch and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Flowery Branch GA area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Flowery Branch GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader directory of graduates, which may result in 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Flowery Branch GA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Flowery Branch GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flowery Branch GA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Flowery Branch GA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flowery Branch GA, check that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Flowery Branch GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Flowery Branch Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Flowery Branch, Georgia
Flowery Branch is a city in Hall County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 5,679. It is part of the Gainesville, Georgia metropolitan area, and lies on the shores of Lake Lanier.
Flowery Branch was originally named Anaguluskee, a Cherokee Indian word meaning "flowers on the branch."  Other sources claim the original name was Nattagasska ("Blossom Creek"), which long-term residents recall as an alternative nickname for the town.
The Atlanta Falcons football team's training camp has been located in Flowery Branch since the start of the 2005 season. The city also hosts the Historic Caboose exhibit and the Historic Train Depot museum.
School for HVAC Flowery Branch GA
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Flowery Branch GA.
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