How to Find the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Brewton AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near 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 research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Brewton AL HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are offered. Below are a few 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 competency 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Brewton AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial 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 detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Brewton AL, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Brewton AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Brewton and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Brewton AL area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Brewton AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training program 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train 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 graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Brewton AL HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Brewton AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing 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 equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Brewton AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Brewton AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs 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 Brewton AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Brewton AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Brewton Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Brewton is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 5,408. The city is the county seat of Escambia County. Brewton is located in south central Alabama, just north of the Florida Panhandle.
Brewton was ranked as one of the 100 best small towns in America in Norman Crampton's book, The 100 Best Small Towns in America (1995).. Brewton has a unique combination of wealth, natural resources and good public schools that are unusual for rural South Alabama.
The settlement at this site was originally known as Newport; barges made runs to and from Pensacola, Florida on Murder Creek and Burnt Corn Creek, before the railroad was constructed. In May 1861, Brewton was established as a train stop by Edmund Troupe Bruton. The area's lumber began to be harvested by industrialists.
Air Conditioning Classes Brewton AL
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Brewton AL.
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