How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling School near Vidalia Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Vidalia GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant concerns, 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. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Vidalia GA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two 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 as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Vidalia GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even 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 cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Vidalia GA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Vidalia GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Vidalia and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Vidalia GA area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Vidalia 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 pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Vidalia GA HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Vidalia GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Vidalia GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Vidalia GA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure 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 Vidalia GA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Vidalia GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Vidalia Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Vidalia (/vaɪˈdeɪliə/ vye-DAY-lee-ə, locally /-ˈdeɪjə/ -DAY-yə) is a city located primarily in Toombs County, Georgia, United States. The city also extends very slightly into Montgomery County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,473.
Vidalia is the principal city of the Vidalia Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Montgomery and Toombs Counties, and had a combined population of 36,346 at the 2010 census.
The town was incorporated on January 1, 1890. It is the largest city in Toombs County, but it is not the county seat. Although a Georgia website suggests the town may have been named "via dalia" ("road of dahlias"), it may have been named — like Vidalia, Louisiana — in honor of Don José Vidal, a Spanish aristocrat.
How to Choose HVAC Certification Classes Vidalia GA
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Certification Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if 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 right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Vidalia GA.
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