How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Rector Arkansas
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Rector AR. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors 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. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Rector AR HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the important 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 acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Rector AR.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Rector AR, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Rector AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Rector and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have chosen 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 probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Rector AR area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Rector AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Rector AR HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Rector AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Rector AR HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Rector AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Rector AR, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Rector AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Rector Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
In 1881 the Texas and St. Louis Railroad laid out the town of Rector about 2 miles (3 km) to the south of an existing settlement named Scatterville, and the population of Scatterville gradually migrated to the new town.
Rector is located in southern Clay County along the southeastern edge of Crowley's Ridge. U.S. Route 49 passes through the city, leading northeast 13 miles (21 km) to Piggott and southwest 7 miles (11 km) to Marmaduke. In the southern part of the city, Arkansas Highway 90 (Main Street) intersects US 49.
As of the census of 2000, the racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.20% Asian, and 0.99% from two or more races. 0.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Commercial HVAC Training Rector AR
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Commercial HVAC Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening 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 right questions as we have outlined in our checklist 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Rector AR.
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