How to Enroll In the Right HVAC School near Lake Park Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Lake Park GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some 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. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, 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. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Lake Park GA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. 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 field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination 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 exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives 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 lesser period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Lake Park GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with 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 acquiring some experience in the trade in Lake Park GA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Lake Park GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Lake Park and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Lake Park GA area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Lake Park GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lake Park GA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade 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 within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Lake Park GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Park GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lake Park GA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Park GA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Lake Park GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lake Park Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lake Park, Georgia
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (2.72%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 549 people, 224 households, and 140 families residing in the city. The population density was 385.5 people per square mile (149.3/km²). There were 262 housing units at an average density of 184.0 per square mile (71.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.15% White, 15.66% African American, 1.82% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.36% from other races, and 1.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.19% of the population.
There were 224 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.96.
HVAC Technical Schools Lake Park GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technical Schools. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out 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 contractor in Lake Park GA.
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