How to Select the Right HVAC Training Program near Roanoke Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Roanoke AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Roanoke AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of 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 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 professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, 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 intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Roanoke AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, many 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along 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 getting some experience in the field in Roanoke AL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. 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 in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Roanoke AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Roanoke and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Roanoke AL area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Roanoke AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean 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 broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 Roanoke AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Roanoke AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Roanoke AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Roanoke AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Roanoke AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Roanoke AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Roanoke Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
This was an area of historic occupation by the Creek before treaties to persuade the Native Americans to cede their land, followed by forced migration under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The area was part of a broad part of upland developed as cotton plantations worked by enslaved African Americans. The area is still quite rural.
Initially called High Pine in the 1830s after a nearby creek, it was allegedly burned during an Indian uprising in 1836. Renamed Chulafinee in 1840, it was later renamed again for the hometown of one of the early settlers, Roanoke, Virginia. The city was officially incorporated in December 1890.
Roanoke has three schools served by Roanoke City Schools: Knight Enloe Elementary (K-3), Handley Middle School (4-8), and Handley High School (9-12). On December 1, 2011, the Handley Tigers won the AHSAA Football Class 3A State Championship.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools Roanoke AL
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally 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, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Roanoke AL.
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