How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Jefferson Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Jefferson GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Jefferson GA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, 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 intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Jefferson GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Jefferson GA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Jefferson GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Jefferson and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Jefferson GA area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Jefferson GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify 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 acquire a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering 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 signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers 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 mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Jefferson GA HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Jefferson GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Jefferson GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Jefferson GA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jefferson GA, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check 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 Jefferson GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Jefferson Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Jefferson is a city in Jackson County, Georgia, United States. The population was 9,432 at the 2010 census, up from 3,825 at the 2000 census. As of 2016 the estimated population was 10,486. The city is the county seat of Jackson County.
Jefferson was founded in 1800. That same year, the seat of Jackson County was transferred to Jefferson from Clarkesboro. Jefferson was incorporated as a town in 1806 and as a city in 1896. The city was named after Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson is located in central Jackson County at 34°7′36″N 83°35′25″W / 34.12667°N 83.59028°W / 34.12667; -83.59028 (34.126736, -83.590297). It is bordered to the northwest by Pendergrass and to the southeast by Arcade. U.S. Route 129 passes through the southwest side of the city, leading northwest 21 miles (34 km) to Gainesville and southeast 19 miles (31 km) to Athens. Interstate 85 runs through the northern end of Jefferson, 5 miles (8 km) northwest of the center of town, with access from Exits 137 and 140. I-85 leads southwest 55 miles (89 km) to Atlanta and northeast 90 miles (140 km) to Greenville, South Carolina.
Heating and Air Training Jefferson GA
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Training. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Jefferson GA.
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