How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course near Lithia Springs Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Lithia Springs GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details 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 criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Lithia Springs GA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Lithia Springs GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong 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 taking 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with 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 getting some experience in the trade in Lithia Springs GA, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Lithia Springs GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lithia Springs 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 career or family responsibilities 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 active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Lithia Springs GA area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Lithia Springs GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate 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 course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lithia Springs GA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lithia Springs GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with 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 looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lithia Springs GA HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lithia Springs GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges 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 a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lithia Springs GA, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Lithia Springs GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lithia Springs Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lithia Springs, Georgia
Lithia Springs is a census-designated place and unincorporated area, formerly incorporated as a city, located in northeastern Douglas County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the community had a population of 15,491. The area is named for its historic "lithia" mineral water springs.
Incorporated in 1882, Lithia Springs was dissolved the first time in 1933. Lithia Springs became incorporated again in 1994, to be Douglas County's second completely internal municipality, but disincorporated again in 2001.
In 2001, the citizens voted (80% yea, 20% nay) on March 20 to dissolve the city charter and de-incorporate the city, transferring all assets to the county. The referendum that ended the town was part of the settlement in a lawsuit brought by city residents charging the city should be dissolved because it did not deliver enough services to justify its existence under state law. During its incorporation until 2001, the former city had five mayors.
Air Conditioner Schools Lithia Springs GA
Picking the right HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Schools. However, as we have covered in this post, you should select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Lithia Springs GA.
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