How to Choose the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Fairfield Bay Arkansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Fairfield Bay AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion 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 in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Fairfield Bay AR HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized 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 earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Fairfield Bay AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study 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 financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Fairfield Bay AR, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for some Fairfield Bay AR students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Fairfield Bay and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools 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 online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Fairfield Bay AR area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Fairfield Bay AR area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Fairfield Bay AR HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of 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 HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Fairfield Bay AR HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fairfield Bay AR HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fairfield Bay AR home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield Bay AR, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Fairfield Bay AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fairfield Bay Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Fairfield Bay is a city in Cleburne and Van Buren counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. The population in its portion in Van Buren County, which accounts for the bulk of the city limits, made the city the most populous in Van Buren County as of the 2000 census, but with a slight decline in population, lost the distinction to Clinton as of 2010.
Fairfield Bay is located in eastern Van Buren County at 35°36′07″N 92°15′51″W / 35.602031°N 92.264164°W / 35.602031; -92.264164, extending eastward into Cleburne County. It is located on hills overlooking the northern shore of Greers Ferry Lake, a reservoir on the Little Red River, a tributary of the White River which flows to the Mississippi.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.5 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.36%, is water.
Colleges That Offer HVAC Fairfield Bay AR
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Colleges That Offer HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to choose an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Fairfield Bay AR.
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