How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Munford Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Munford AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details 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. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Munford AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Munford AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as 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 getting some experience in the field in Munford AL, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Munford AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Munford and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs 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 active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Munford AL area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Munford AL area have earned 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 relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Munford AL HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade 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 within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Munford AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Munford AL HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Munford AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Munford AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Munford AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Munford Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Munford is a town in Talladega County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 1,292. It is the location of what has been called the last battle of the Civil War east of the Mississippi, the Battle of Munford on April 23, 1865, being one week after the Battle of Columbus (April 16, 1865) in Georgia.
Munford was initially incorporated in 1873. At some point in the 1880s, it either disincorporated or lost its charter. In 2000, Munford was classified as a census-designated place (CDP), and in 2002 formally incorporated again.
As of the census of 2010 there were 1,292 people, 492 households, and 355 families residing in the town. The population density was 587.3 people per square mile (226.7/km²). There were 554 housing units at an average density of 251.8 per square mile (97.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.4% White, 15.6% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 1.3% from two or more races. 1.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Trade School for HVAC Munford AL
Selecting the right HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Trade School for HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Munford AL.
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