How to Select the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Richmond Hill Georgia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Richmond Hill GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation 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 examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Richmond Hill GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field 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 earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Richmond Hill GA.
- Certificate. Usually 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 supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Richmond Hill GA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for some Richmond Hill GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Richmond Hill and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Richmond Hill GA area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Richmond Hill GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean 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 alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Richmond Hill GA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational 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 within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Richmond Hill GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Richmond Hill GA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Richmond Hill GA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Richmond Hill GA, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Richmond Hill GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Richmond Hill Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Richmond Hill is a city in Bryan County, Georgia, United States. The population was 9,281 at the 2010 census, up from 6,959 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Richmond Hill is located along the eastern border of Bryan County at 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361 (31.938151, -81.313750). The Ogeechee River forms the eastern edge of the city (and the county line); an outlying portion of the city of Savannah is on the opposite side of the river.
U.S. Route 17 (Ocean Highway) passes through the city north of the original downtown. Interstate 95 passes through the western edge of the city, with access from Exit 87 (US 17) and Exit 90 (Georgia State Route 144/Ford Avenue). Downtown Savannah is 21 miles (34 km) to the north, and Brunswick is 58 miles (93 km) to the south.
Advanced HVAC Training Richmond Hill GA
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Advanced HVAC Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Richmond Hill GA.
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