How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Sylvania Georgia
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Sylvania GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Sylvania GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the significant 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 received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Sylvania GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Sylvania GA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number 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 may be attended online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Sylvania GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Sylvania and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Sylvania GA area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Sylvania GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Sylvania GA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Sylvania GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Sylvania GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sylvania GA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized 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 teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sylvania GA, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Sylvania GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Sylvania Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The area was inhabited for thousands of years by various cultures of indigenous peoples. By the time of European encounter, it was occupied by the Yuchi peoples, but some Creeks, the Uchee's allies, moved into the area during Colonial times.
The European-American town of Sylvania was founded in 1790 by settlers' migrating to the area after the American Revolutionary War. The town took its name from the Latin term for "place in the woods."
Sylvania was part of the Black Belt of Georgia, developed for cultivation after the cotton gin made it easier to handle short-fiber cotton. Cotton was the most important commodity crop until late in the 19th century. Planters imported many enslaved African Americans to cultivate the crops. By 1830 the county was filled with people. The county seat was moved from Jacksonborough to Sylvania in 1847.
HVAC Courses Near Me Sylvania GA
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Courses Near Me. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Sylvania GA.
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