How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Dacula Georgia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Dacula GA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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 within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Dacula GA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, although 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 can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Dacula GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even 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 air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Dacula GA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor 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 option may be a more accessible solution for some Dacula GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Dacula and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Dacula GA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Dacula GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Dacula GA HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Dacula GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Dacula GA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Dacula GA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise 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 are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dacula GA, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Dacula GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Dacula Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Dacula (dah-cuo-luh) is a city in Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States. The population as of the 2010 census was 4,442, and the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population to be 5,330 as of 2015.
The vicinity of Dacula was one of the first areas in present-day metropolitan Atlanta to be settled by whites (around the time of the War of 1812), but the area remained mostly undeveloped until the late 20th century. The Dacula area is home to some of the oldest buildings in greater Atlanta, such as the Elisha Winn House, which originally acted as the courthouse for Gwinnett County. Dacula itself began in the late 1800s near the community of Chinquapin Grove, where Dacula Elementary now stands. The town was originally named "Hoke", after a Seaboard Air Line Railroad executive, but that name was changed due to the Post Office Department's protest.. Dacula's name was formed from letters in Decatur and Atlanta, two cities to the west that were already prospering at the time of Dacula's founding. The city was once home to a train station on a CSX line through northeast Georgia, although the station closed in the mid-1950s.
Dacula is located in eastern Gwinnett County, with U.S. Route 29 Business/Georgia State Route 8 (Winder Highway) the main road through the center of town. Business 29/SR 8 leads west 6 miles (10 km) to Lawrenceville, the county seat, and east 11 miles (18 km) to Winder. U.S. Route 29 (University Parkway) is a four-lane highway that bypasses Dacula to the south, with access from Harbins Road. University Parkway leads east 34 miles (55 km) to Athens and west 12 miles (19 km) to Interstate 85, which leads an additional 25 miles (40 km) southwest to downtown Atlanta.
HVAC Schooling Dacula GA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schooling. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an HVAC technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are lots of 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 tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Dacula GA.
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