How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Flagstaff AZ HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned 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 exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Flagstaff AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four 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 goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Flagstaff AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Flagstaff AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Flagstaff and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Flagstaff AZ area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Flagstaff AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 more extensive directory of alumni, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Flagstaff AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Flagstaff AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flagstaff AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction 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 experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 Flagstaff AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Flagstaff AZ?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Flagstaff Arizona area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a growing center for medical and biotechnology manufacturing, home to corporations such as SenesTech and W. L. Gore and Associates. 
HVAC Training Courses Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Flagstaff AZ.
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