How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Folkston Georgia
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Folkston GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Folkston GA HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency 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 professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Folkston GA.
- Certificate. Usually 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 job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Folkston GA, later returning to acquire 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 Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Folkston GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Folkston and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career 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 Training Programs
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Folkston GA area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Folkston GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could 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 broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Folkston GA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Folkston 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 build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. 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 Folkston GA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Folkston 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 receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Folkston GA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Folkston GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Folkston Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Folkston is a city in and the county seat of Charlton County, Georgia, United States. Folkston is in the Jacksonville Metropolitan Area. The population was 4,148 as of the 2010 census, up from 2,178 in 2000, largely due to the extension of the city boundary to include D. Ray James Prison.
Folkston was founded on August 19, 1911. The city was named in honor of William Brandon Folks, M.D., a prominent physician and surgeon in his day. In the years 1925 - 1927, many new and commodious residences were built and several modern brick buildings were erected, including the Citizen Bank Block, the Masonic Temple building, a grammar-school building, and a courthouse. Shortly after its creation, the village of Folkston was incorporated as a town government and functioned as a town until 1911 when the area was incorporated as a city. For a number of years, Folkston was the self-proclaimed "Marriage Capital of the World;" Floridians who could not endure their state's waiting period before tying the knot would cross the state line to wed.
Folkston is located near the southern boundary of Georgia at 30°50′4″N 82°0′17″W / 30.83444°N 82.00472°W / 30.83444; -82.00472 (30.834437, -82.004829). U.S. Routes 1, 23, and 301 pass through the city as Second Street, leading south 42 miles (68 km) to Jacksonville, Florida. Route 1 and 23 lead northwest 35 miles (56 km) to Waycross, while Route 301 leads north 55 miles (89 km) to Jesup. The eastern entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Folkston via GA 23 and GA 121.
HVAC Training and Certification Folkston GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training and Certification. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Folkston GA.
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