How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Norcross Georgia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Norcross GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors 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 additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Norcross GA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant 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 acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along 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 mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare 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 and Certificate Classes
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Norcross GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid 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. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Norcross GA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Norcross GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Norcross and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs 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 easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Norcross GA area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Norcross GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Norcross GA HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along 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 contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Norcross GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Norcross GA HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Norcross GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out 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 are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Norcross GA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Norcross GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Norcross Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Norcross is a city in Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States. The population as of the 2010 census was 9,116, while in 2015 the estimated population was 16,634. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metropolitan statistical area.
The city sits along the Eastern Continental Divide. Streams to the west of the city center travel to the Chattahoochee River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, while streams to the east flow to the Yellow River, a tributary of the Ocmulgee River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean north of Brunswick. This divide, or ridge, played a significant role in the early settlement of the area. Originally, the Creek and Cherokee people occupied this land, and the ridgeline was used as a major transportation route. Two American forts were established in the early 19th century due to the War of 1812: Fort Daniel (at Hog Mountain) and Peachtree Fort (in Atlanta). These two forts were connected by this old Indian trail which became known as the original Peachtree Road. By around 1840, this trail had evolved into a stagecoach route connecting South Carolina and Alabama through Georgia. The surrounding area became populated, and the small communities of Pinckneyville and Flint Hill prospered.
This all changed with the creation of the Richmond-Danville Railroad, designed to open up the wilderness areas of northeast Georgia. The railroad was proposed in 1856 by Jonathan Norcross (a former Atlanta mayor) and was subsequently approved. Construction was delayed, however, until 1866 because of the Civil War. On September 12, 1869, the first 20 miles (32 km) were completed. On October 16, 1889, John J. Thrasher bought the 250 acres (1.0 km2) surrounding the terminal for $1,650, and a town was born – named for Thrasher's good friend, Jonathan Norcross. The Brunswick Hotel was built in 1870, and Norcross quickly became known as a resort area, much like East Lake, for Atlantans wanting to escape the rapidly growing city. The new town also meant the demise of the surrounding communities of Pinckneyville and Flint Hill, as people migrated in to build houses, churches, schools, and to be near the railroad.
Air Conditioner Technician School Norcross GA
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Technician School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Norcross GA.
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