How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling College near Lexington Georgia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Lexington GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the cost 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 take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of 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 criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Lexington GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, although 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 training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Lexington GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lexington GA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number 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 online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Lexington GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Lexington and study supplies can be minimized, 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 minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lexington GA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Lexington GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lexington GA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Lexington GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lexington GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lexington GA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lexington GA, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Lexington GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lexington Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lexington was founded in 1800. That same year, the seat of Oglethorpe County was transferred to Lexington from Philomath. Lexington was incorporated as a town in 1806, and is named for Lexington, Massachusetts.
As of the census of 2000, there were 239 people, 101 households, and 65 families residing in the city. The population density was 439.6 people per square mile (170.9/km²). There were 115 housing units at an average density of 211.5 per square mile (82.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.71% White, 25.94% African American, 0.84% Native American, and 2.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.
There were 101 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.82.
Heating and Air Classes Lexington GA
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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 options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lexington GA.
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