How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Class near Calera Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Calera AL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation 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 discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Calera AL HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain 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 certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Calera AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, some 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Calera AL, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Calera AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Calera and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Calera AL area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Calera AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance 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 frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Calera AL HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Calera AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools 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 specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Calera AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Calera AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Calera AL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Calera AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Calera Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
As of the 2010 census Calera had a population of 11,620, more than tripling its total in 2000, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
HVAC Training Programs Calera AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Programs. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not 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 proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Calera AL.
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