How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling College near Waleska Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Waleska GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry 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 professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Waleska GA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Waleska GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Waleska GA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Waleska GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Waleska and study materials may 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 work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Waleska GA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Waleska GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Waleska GA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Waleska GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Waleska GA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Waleska GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Waleska GA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Waleska GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Waleska Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The first white settlement in the Waleska area began in the early 1830s. Among these first pioneer settlers were the Reinhardt, Heard and Rhyne families, who moved into the region looking for fresh, fertile farm land. At first, these settlers lived among the Cherokee population already established in the area, but by 1838 all of the Cherokee had been forced westward to Oklahoma in the U.S. government relocation movement known as the Trail of Tears.
Early settler Lewis W. Reinhardt established a church in 1834 in the settlement known as Reinhardt Chapel and befriended many of the native Cherokee population. When the Trail of Tears forced the movement of Warluskee, the daughter of a local Cherokee chief and friend of Reinhardt's, westward, he named this settlement in her honor (see Funk Heritage Center below).
In 1883, Augustus M. Reinhardt, an Atlanta lawyer, former Confederate captain, and son of one of the founders of Waleska, along with his brother-in-law, former Civil War Lieutenant-Colonel John J. A. Sharp, founded Reinhardt Academy in Waleska for the impoverished children of Cherokee County. This school eventually became Reinhardt University.
How to Choose HVAC Training Courses Waleska GA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Training Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 specialist in Waleska GA.
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