How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Livingston Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Livingston AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details 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 within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Livingston AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of options offered 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 minimum amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however 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 brief summary of each credential offered near Livingston AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Livingston AL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Livingston AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Livingston and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Livingston AL area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Livingston AL 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 pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school 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 get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Livingston AL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Livingston AL 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 certain that the campus 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 with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Livingston AL HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Livingston AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Livingston AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Livingston AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Livingston Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Livingston is a city in Sumter County, Alabama, United States. By an act of the state legislature, it was incorporated on January 10, 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 3,485, up from 3,297 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Sumter County, and the home of the University of West Alabama. It was named in honor of Edward Livingston, of the Livingston family of New York.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,485 people residing in the city. 63.8% were African American, 34.4% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander and 0.6% of two more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,297 people, 1,368 households, and 731 families residing in the city. The population density was 463.1 people per square mile (178.8/km²). There were 1,586 housing units at an average density of 222.8 per square mile (86.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.78% Black or African American, 37.82% White or Caucasian, 0.18% Asian, 0.15% Native American, 0.30% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Air Conditioning Trade School Livingston AL
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Trade School. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Livingston AL.
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