How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling College near Douglasville Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Douglasville GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Douglasville GA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few 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 field experience together with 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several choices available for HVAC training 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 lesser period of time, usually 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 applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Douglasville GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Douglasville GA, eventually going back to earn 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 Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Douglasville GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Douglasville and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Douglasville GA area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Douglasville GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of Douglasville GA HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Douglasville GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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 under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Douglasville GA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Douglasville GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn 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 evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Douglasville GA, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Douglasville GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Douglasville Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Located along a natural rise in the topography, Douglasville was originally known as "Skint Chestnut." The name was derived from a large tree used by Native Americans as a landmark; it was stripped of its bark so as to be more conspicuous.
Douglasville was founded in 1874 as the railroad was constructed in the area. That same year, Douglasville was designated as the county seat of the recently formed Douglas County. The community was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
On September 21, 2009, Douglas County was devastated by the worst flood in Georgia history. Over 18 inches (457 mm) of rain fell in one night, destroying many roads and homes. The county was later declared a disaster area, and the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency. The flooding most affected the areas of Douglasville, Villa Rica, Austell, Lithia Springs, and Chapel Hill. The disaster killed more than eight people in the county, most of them in the Douglasville area.
HVAC Training Courses Douglasville GA
Picking 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 Training Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you should pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Douglasville GA.
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