How to Find the Right HVAC Degree Program near Preston Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Preston GA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion 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 within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals 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 mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Preston GA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below 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 proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Preston GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Preston GA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Preston GA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Preston and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. 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 minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Preston GA area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Preston GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Preston GA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Preston GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Preston GA HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Preston GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Preston GA, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Preston GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Preston Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Preston is an unincorporated community in Webster County, Georgia, United States, located seventeen miles west of Americus. The population was 453 at the 2000 census. From 1857 to 2009, Preston was an incorporated municipality. The community is the county seat of Webster County.
Preston was founded in 1856 as the seat of Webster County. It was incorporated as a town in 1857 and as a city in 1977. In 2009, the city was disincorporated and became part of the Unified Government of Webster County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 453 people, 190 households, and 129 families residing in the town. The population density was 100.1 people per square mile (38.6/km²). There were 205 housing units at an average density of 45.3 per square mile (17.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 67.77% White, 28.26% African American, 0.22% Native American, 3.53% from other races, and 0.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.75% of the population.
HVAC Diploma Online Preston GA
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Diploma Online. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC trade 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 plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Preston GA.
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