How to Choose the Right HVAC Program near Pocahontas Arkansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Pocahontas AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some 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 other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Pocahontas AR HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Pocahontas AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering 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 future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Pocahontas AR, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Pocahontas AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Pocahontas and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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 limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Pocahontas AR area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Pocahontas AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Pocahontas AR HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Pocahontas AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Pocahontas AR HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Pocahontas AR home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pocahontas AR, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Pocahontas AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Pocahontas Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Pocahontas is a city in Randolph County, Arkansas, United States, along the Black River. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 6,765. The city is the county seat of Randolph County.
The family of Dr. Ransom S. Bettis is given the credit for being the first settlers on the land now called Pocahontas. Dr. Bettis' daughter, Cinderella, married Thomas S. Drew, and lived on 800 acres where the town of Biggers now exists. Bettis and Drew led the founding of Pocahontas as the county seat of Randolph County.
Randolph County is famous for many "firsts"; Arkansas' oldest town, Davidsonville, was established in 1815. The first Arkansas post office was built in Davidsonville in 1817, and the first state courthouse was established in 1818. The earliest land claim was in 1809 near what is now Ravenden Springs. The first actual term of court convened in Arkansas was in 1815 in a part of Lawrence County that was given over to Randolph County. And the country's first overland route, the Natchitoches Trail, went through parts of Randolph County.
How To Become an HVAC Technician Pocahontas AR
Finding the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How To Become an HVAC Technician. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Pocahontas AR.
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