How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Casa Grande AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Casa Grande AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Casa Grande AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning 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 long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Casa Grande AZ, subsequently returning to earn 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 Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Casa Grande AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Casa Grande and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Casa Grande AZ area have received 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Casa Grande AZ HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Casa Grande AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Casa Grande AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Casa Grande AZ?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Casa Grande Arizona area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Casa Grande, Arizona
Casa Grande (O'odham: Wainom Wo:g) is a city in Pinal County, approximately halfway between Phoenix and Tucson in the U.S. state of Arizona. According to U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city is 55,477 as of 2017. It is named after the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, which is actually located in Coolidge. "Casa Grande" is Spanish for "big house". Among resident English speakers, there is no consensus on how to pronounce the city’s name. 
Casa Grande was founded in 1879 by The Carter Family during the Arizona mining boom, specifically due to the presence of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In January 1880, the community of Terminus, meaning "end-of-the-line," was established despite consisting of just five residents and three buildings. In September 1880, railroad executives renamed the settlement Casa Grande, after the Hohokam ruins at the nearby Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Casa Grande grew slowly, and suffered several setbacks both in 1886 and 1893, when fires ravaged the town, destroying all wooden housing structures within it. When the mining boom slowed in the 1890s, the town was nearly abandoned, but with the advent of agriculture, the town remained alive and well, and was eventually incorporated in 1915.
According to historian David Leighton, during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, a Japanese-American relocation camp was set up outside of Casa Grande, known as the Gila River War Relocation Center. Two notable people that were interned there were future actor Pat Morita and baseball player Kenichi Zenimura, who constructed a baseball field and set up a league in the relocation camp.
Heating and Air Conditioning School Casa Grande AZ
Choosing the right HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Conditioning School. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Casa Grande AZ.
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