How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near Lagrange Georgia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Lagrange GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed 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 a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Lagrange GA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here 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 competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of options 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 accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Lagrange GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level 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 delivers a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Lagrange GA, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Lagrange GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Lagrange and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lagrange GA area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lagrange GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher 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 will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lagrange GA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Lagrange GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lagrange GA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lagrange GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lagrange GA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows 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 Lagrange GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lagrange Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
LaGrange is a city in and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia, United States. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,452 in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area. It is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Atlanta and located in the foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.
LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Started as a girls' academy, it has been affiliated since the late 19th century with the Methodist Church, and what is now the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The city's proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, helps attract bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts to the city.
LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette. When La Fayette, a Revolutionary War hero, visited Georgia in 1825 on a national tour, he remarked on the similarity of local topography to his wife's property.
Air Conditioner School Online Lagrange GA
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner School Online. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to select an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Lagrange GA.
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