How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Waynesville Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Waynesville GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Waynesville GA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Waynesville GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Waynesville GA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Waynesville GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Waynesville and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Waynesville GA area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Waynesville GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Waynesville GA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Waynesville GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Waynesville GA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Waynesville GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Waynesville GA, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Waynesville GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Waynesville Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
HVAC Trade School Waynesville GA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Trade School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should choose an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Waynesville GA.
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