How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Laceys Spring Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Laceys Spring AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Laceys Spring AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Laceys Spring AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Laceys Spring AL, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many 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 participated in online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Laceys Spring AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Laceys Spring and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Laceys Spring AL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Laceys Spring AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Laceys Spring AL HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Laceys Spring AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Laceys Spring AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Laceys Spring AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers 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 schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Laceys Spring AL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Laceys Spring AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Laceys Spring Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lacey's Spring, Alabama
Lacey's Spring is an unincorporated community in northeastern Morgan County, Alabama, United States at the base of Brindlee Mountain. It is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Air Conditioning Trade Schools Laceys Spring AL
Picking the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available 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 outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Laceys Spring AL.
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