How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Anniston AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate 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 training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Anniston AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Anniston AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Anniston 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 considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number 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 on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Anniston AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Anniston and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Anniston AL area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Anniston AL 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, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Anniston AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anniston AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized 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 see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Anniston AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Anniston Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
HVAC Schools Near Me Anniston AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools Near Me. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening 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 appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Anniston AL.
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