How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Course near Cottonwood Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Cottonwood AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed 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 air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Cottonwood AL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency 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 professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 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 applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Cottonwood AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Cottonwood AL, eventually going back to earn 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 Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in 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 remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Cottonwood AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Cottonwood and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Cottonwood AL area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Cottonwood AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates 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, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate 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 program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Cottonwood AL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Cottonwood AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Cottonwood AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Cottonwood AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased 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 big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cottonwood AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Cottonwood AL?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Cottonwood Alabama area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Heating and Cooling Classes Cottonwood AL
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Cooling Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Cottonwood AL.
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