How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Degree Program near Ridgeland South Carolina
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Ridgeland SC. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details that you need to investigate 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c 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 technicians provide services for 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 each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Ridgeland SC HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
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, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs 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 can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Ridgeland SC.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, 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 conventional four year program. In addition to being taught 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 based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Ridgeland SC, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Ridgeland SC students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Ridgeland and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education 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, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish 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 vocational schools in the Ridgeland SC area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Ridgeland SC area have acquired 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 example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 broader 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 will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ridgeland SC HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Ridgeland SC HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job 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 instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Ridgeland SC HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Ridgeland SC home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Ridgeland SC, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Ridgeland SC?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Ridgeland South Carolina area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Ridgeland, South Carolina
Ridgeland is a town in Jasper and Beaufort counties, South Carolina, United States. The population was 4,036 at the 2010 census, a 60% increase from 2000. It has been the county seat of Jasper County since the county's formation in 1912. As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, Ridgeland is included within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area.
Ridgeland was originally known as "Gopher Hill" in 1894, derived from the gopher tortoise, which is indigenous to the area. The name was not considered good enough for a new railroad station, so it was changed to "Ridgeland" in 1902 for the fact that the town stands on a sandy ridge that is some of the highest land in Jasper County.
Ridgeland is in northeastern Jasper County, with the center of town sitting on a low ridge at an elevation of 62 feet (19 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.7 square miles (115.8 km2), of which 44.4 square miles (115.1 km2) are land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km2), or 0.59%, are water. The town's area as of 2010 was 18 times greater than its 2000 area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 km2). The town limits now extend east into Beaufort County as far as the west bank of the Broad River.
Air Conditioning Online Courses Ridgeland SC
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Online Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Ridgeland SC.
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