How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Training near Vernon Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Vernon AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other things 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 other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Vernon AL HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the significant 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 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, typically achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Vernon AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Vernon AL, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Vernon AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Vernon and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Vernon AL area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Vernon AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering 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 could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Vernon AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Vernon AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Vernon AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Vernon AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training 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 experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vernon AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Vernon AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Vernon Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Mount Vernon, Alabama
Mount Vernon is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. It is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. It incorporated in 1959. At the 2010 census the population was 1,574, up from 844 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 844 people, 333 households, and 228 families residing in the town. The population density was 446.4 people per square mile (172.4/km²). There were 395 housing units at an average density of 208.9 per square mile (80.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 45.38% White, 52.96% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 0.24% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. 0.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 333 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.19.
Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training Vernon AL
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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 options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Vernon AL.
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