How to Choose the Right HVAC Training Program near Pelham Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Pelham GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Pelham GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just six 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 related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Pelham GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, some 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.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Pelham GA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Pelham GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Pelham and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Pelham GA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Pelham GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Pelham GA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Pelham GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form 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 tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Pelham GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Pelham GA 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 get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pelham GA, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Pelham GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Pelham Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Pelham is a city in Mitchell County, Georgia, United States. The population was 3,898 at the 2010 census. Pelham is at the crossroads of US 19 and State Route 93 and is approximately 38 miles (61 km) south of Albany and about 26 miles (42 km) north of Thomasville.
Pelham has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by humid summers and mild winters. It receives 52 inches of rain per year. The average number of days with any measurable precipitation is 90. Pelham has on average 233 sunny days per year. The July high is around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The January low is 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,126 people, 1,467 households and 999 families in the city. The population density was 1,019.2 people per square mile (393.3/km²). There were 1,591 housing units at an average density of 393.0 per square mile (151.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.13% African American, 41.66% White, 0.24% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.43% of the population.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Course Pelham GA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Course. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Pelham GA.
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