How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Macon Georgia
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Macon GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Macon GA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle 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 intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Macon GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Macon GA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Macon GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Macon and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Macon GA area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Macon GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify 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 broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Macon GA HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Macon GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Macon GA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Macon GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Macon GA, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Macon GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Macon Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Macon (/ˈmeɪkən/), officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia."
Located near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon is the county seat of Bibb County and had a 2017 estimated population of 152,663. Macon is the principal city of the Macon metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 228,914 in 2017. Macon is also the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), a larger trading area with an estimated 420,693 residents in 2017; the CSA abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area just to the north.
In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the consolidation of Macon and Bibb County, and Macon became Georgia's fourth-largest city (just after Columbus). The two governments officially merged on January 1, 2014.
Heating and Air Schools Macon GA
Picking the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Macon GA.
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