How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Training near Wedowee Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Wedowee AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to research 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Wedowee AL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Wedowee AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning 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, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Wedowee AL, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Wedowee AL students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Wedowee and study supplies 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 obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Wedowee AL area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Wedowee 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 relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 more extensive directory 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 can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Wedowee AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Wedowee AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Wedowee AL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Wedowee AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging 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 instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wedowee AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Wedowee AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Wedowee Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Wedowee is a town in Randolph County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 823, up from 818 in 2000. The small town is the county seat of Randolph County. It was initially incorporated in 1836, but its charter lapsed by the late 19th century. It was reincorporated in 1901.
Following Indian Removal of the Creek in the 1830s to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River by the US government, this area was settled by European Americans. The town of Wedowee was designated as the county seat of Randolph County in 1835. The county was developed for the cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, with labor primarily done by enslaved African Americans, many of whom had been sold to the Deep South from the Upper South in the domestic slave trade.
Since the late 20th century, Lake Wedowee was created by the impoundment of the Tallapoosa River. This has enhanced the tourist drawing power of the town. Also known as the R. L. Harris Reservoir, the lake draws thousands of visitors to Wedowee every year. 
Heating and Refrigeration Courses Wedowee AL
Picking the ideal HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Refrigeration Courses. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to choose an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Wedowee AL.
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