How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Ellijay Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Ellijay GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things that you need to look into 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 vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors 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 mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Ellijay GA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Ellijay GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Ellijay GA, subsequently returning 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 Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Ellijay GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Ellijay and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Ellijay GA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Ellijay GA area have earned 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 pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm 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 an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Ellijay GA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs 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 working partnerships with local Ellijay GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ellijay GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Ellijay GA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Ellijay GA, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, 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 Ellijay GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Ellijay Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Gilmer County was cut from Cherokee County in 1832, and Ellijay became the county seat in 1834. Ellijay existed as a remote mountain community until the Marietta and Northern Georgia Railroad (later the L & N) arrived in 1884. This prompted something of a boom in the timber industry, but the area remained relatively isolated until the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway (Georgia 515, named for Georgia governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller) was completed in 1991.
Ellijay is located at the center of Gilmer County, at 34°41'41" north, 84°29'1" west (34.694656, -84.483566). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km2), all land. It is situated at the confluence of the Ellijay and Cartecay rivers, forming the Coosawattee River, part of the Oostanaula/Coosa/Alabama River watershed. It is bordered to the east and south by the city of East Ellijay.
U.S. Route 76 bypasses the city center to the south and east. It leads west 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth and northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Blue Ridge. Georgia State Route 52 (Chatsworth Highway) also leads 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth, taking a more northerly route over Cohutta Mountain. Georgia State Route 515, the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway, leads northeast with US 76 to Blue Ridge and south 20 miles (32 km) to Jasper. Downtown Atlanta is 77 miles (124 km) to the south.
Online HVAC School Ellijay GA
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Ellijay GA.
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