How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Social Circle Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Social Circle GA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to investigate 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 in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
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 air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Social Circle GA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. 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. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend 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 dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Social Circle GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to 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 acquiring some experience in the trade in Social Circle GA, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Social Circle GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Social Circle and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Social Circle GA area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Social Circle GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Social Circle GA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Social Circle GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Social Circle GA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Social Circle GA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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 instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Social Circle GA, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Social Circle GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Social Circle Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Social Circle, Georgia
Social Circle is a city in Walton County, extending into Newton County, in the U.S. state of Georgia, approximately 45 miles east of Atlanta, and approximately four miles due north of access from Interstate 20.
According to tradition, Social Circle was named from an incident in which a group of people living in the settlement offered water to a weary traveler, whose response was "This certainly is a social circle".  The city also officially notes that a citizen of another village community which was already known by the name of Social Circle joined the settlement in its early days, and this less colorful explanation may be the real source of the unique name.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which 11.2 square miles (29 km2) are land and 0.04-square-mile (0.10 km2) (100%) is water. It was incorporated in 1832, incorporated as a town in 1869, and as a city in 1904.
Colleges That Offer HVAC Social Circle GA
Picking the right HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Colleges That Offer HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to 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. 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 evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Social Circle GA.
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