How to Choose the Right HVAC Program near Smithville Tennessee
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Smithville TN. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Smithville TN HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant 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 may 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 together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Smithville TN.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, some degrees incorporate 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 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Smithville TN, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Smithville TN students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Smithville and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Smithville TN area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Smithville TN area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire 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. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Smithville TN HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Smithville TN HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Smithville TN HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Smithville TN residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Smithville TN, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Smithville TN?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Smithville Tennessee area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Smithville is a city in DeKalb County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 4,530 at the 2010 census, up from 3,994 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of DeKalb County. Smithville is home to the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree, which it has hosted annually since 1972.
Smithville is located in central DeKalb County at 35°57′26″N 85°49′15″W / 35.95722°N 85.82083°W / 35.95722; -85.82083 (35.957191, -85.820756).U.S. Route 70 passes through the town as Broad Street, leading east 21 miles (34 km) to Sparta and northwest 36 miles (58 km) to Lebanon. Tennessee State Route 56 (Congress Boulevard) crosses US 70 a few blocks southeast of the center of town and leads north 13 miles (21 km) to Interstate 40 at Silver Point and 19 miles (31 km) south to McMinnville. Cookeville is 28 miles (45 km) to the northeast, and Nashville is 65 miles (105 km) to the west.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,994 people, 1,675 households, and 1,065 families residing in the city. The population density was 679.4 people per square mile (262.3/km²). There were 1,837 housing units at an average density of 312.5 per square mile (120.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.34% White, 2.73% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 1.65% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.06% of the population.
HVAC College Degree Smithville TN
Picking the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC College Degree. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Smithville TN.
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