How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Class near Stone Mountain Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Stone Mountain GA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just 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. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for 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 every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Stone Mountain GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Stone Mountain GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Stone Mountain GA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Stone Mountain GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Stone Mountain and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, 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 trade schools in the Stone Mountain GA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Stone Mountain GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire 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. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing 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 could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors 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 list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Stone Mountain GA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Stone Mountain GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Stone Mountain GA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Stone Mountain GA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Stone Mountain GA, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Stone Mountain GA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Stone Mountain Georgia area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Stone Mountain is a city in DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The population was 6,368 according to the 2017 US Census estimate. Stone Mountain is located in the eastern part of DeKalb County and is a suburb of Atlanta that encompasses nearly 1.7 square miles. It lies near and touches the western base of the geological formation Stone Mountain. Locals often refer to the city as Stone Mountain Village to distinguish it from the larger unincorporated area traditionally considered Stone Mountain and Stone Mountain Park.
The history of Stone Mountain began long before white European settlers and the Creek Indians before them. Evidence of numerous earlier Native American tribes, including mound builders, have been found in the area of the mountain.
The Treaty of Indian Springs in 1821 opened a large swath of Georgia for settlement by European Americans on former Creek Indian land, including present-day Stone Mountain Village. In 1822, the area that now makes up the city was made a part of the newly formed DeKalb County.
HVAC Training Near Me Stone Mountain GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Near Me. However, as we have covered in this post, you should 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 features to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to 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. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Stone Mountain GA.
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