How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Boaz Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Boaz AL. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Boaz AL HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically accomplished in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Boaz AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular 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 detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught 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 future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Boaz AL, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Boaz AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Boaz and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Boaz AL area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Boaz AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Boaz AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Boaz AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Boaz AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Boaz AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Boaz AL, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Boaz AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Boaz Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Boaz is a city in Marshall and Etowah counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Albertville, Alabama Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 9,551. Boaz was known for its outlet shops.
First settled in the 1850s, the town of Boaz was officially founded November 11, 1878 by the Sparks Family of Georgia. A post office has been in operation since 1887. The city was named after Boaz, from the Bible. It was incorporated in 1897.
The Julia Street Memorial United Methodist Church, Snead Junior College Historic District, the Thomas A. Snellgrove Homestead, and the Edward Fenns Whitman House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage lists the Boaz Elementary School, the First Baptist Church and Cemetery, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Learn HVAC Boaz AL
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Learn HVAC. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Boaz AL.
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