How to Pick the Right HVAC College near Searcy Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Searcy AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Searcy AR HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several options offered for HVAC training 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 least amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Searcy AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right 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 perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Searcy AR, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all 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 in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Searcy AR students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Searcy and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Searcy AR area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Searcy AR area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Searcy AR HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Searcy AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes 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 trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Searcy AR HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Searcy AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Searcy AR, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Searcy AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Searcy Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Searcy (/ˈsɜːrsi/ SUR-see) is the largest city and county seat of White County, Arkansas, United States. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 23,768. It is the principal city of the Searcy, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of White County. The city takes its name from Richard Searcy, a judge for the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory. A college town, Searcy is the home of Harding University and ASU-Searcy.
Originally named White Sulphur Springs, the town's name was changed in 1837, two years after White County was created. The state changed the county seat name to honor Richard Searcy (1794-1832), a prominent Arkansas Legislator.
Israel Moore, who had traveled west from Philadelphia, was in charge of laying out Searcy's original streets, and "he proceeded to name the major streets of Searcy for those of downtown Old Philadelphia near Independence Hall; Race, Arch, Market, Vine, Spring, and the tree-honoring streets of Cherry, Spruce, Locust and Pine." In 1957, Searcy named Moore Street after the 19th-century founder.
School for HVAC Technician Searcy AR
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for HVAC Technician. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to choose an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask 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 filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Searcy AR.
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