How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Madison Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Madison AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Madison AL HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the trade 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 exam and can be earned 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 exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Madison AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for 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 learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Madison AL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Madison AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Madison and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Madison AL area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Madison AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent 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 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Madison AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Madison AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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 technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Madison AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Madison AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized 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 see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Madison AL, check that the programs you are reviewing 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Madison AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Madison Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County, near the northern border of the U.S. state of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the second-largest in the state, and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 42,938. Madison is bordered by Huntsville on all sides.
Madison's first European-American resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818. The city was originally known as Madison Station, and it developed in the 1850s around a stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Textile mills were built in the area in the late 19th century for processing of cotton.
Madison was the site of a battle in the American Civil War. On May 17, 1864, Col. Josiah Patterson's 5th Alabama Cavalry, supported by Col. James H. Stuart's cavalry battalion and a section of horse artillery, drove Col. Adam G. Gorgas's 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment from the city. Patterson's men captured the 13th Illinois Regiment's wagon train, taking 66 prisoners. They also burned Union supplies and tore up the railroad tracks before retreating. Portions of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, the 59th Indiana Infantry and the 5th Iowa Infantry were sent in pursuit from Huntsville. They skirmished with Patterson's rear guard that evening at Fletcher's Ferry on the Tennessee River south of Madison.
HVAC Certification Courses Madison AL
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Certification Courses. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Madison AL.
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