How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Summertown Tennessee
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Summertown TN. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into 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 examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Summertown TN HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 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 acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several 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 amount of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Summertown TN.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Summertown TN, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Summertown TN students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Summertown and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools 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 less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Summertown TN area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Summertown TN area have earned 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Summertown TN HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Summertown TN HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Summertown TN HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Summertown TN home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Summertown TN, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Summertown TN?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Summertown Tennessee area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
The Farm (Tennessee)
The Farm is an intentional community in Lewis County, Tennessee, near the town of Summertown, Tennessee, based on principles of nonviolence and respect for the Earth. It was founded in 1971 by Stephen Gaskin, and 300 spiritual seekers from Haight Ashbury and San Francisco. The Farm is well known among hippies and members of the counterculture and around the world as the home of modern midwifery. It is widely respected for its many nonprofits, including Plenty International, a relief and development organization, and Swan Conservation Trust, who established the 1,358 acres (550 ha) Big Swan Headwaters Preserve. The Farm has approximately 200 members and residents.
The Farm was established after Stephen Gaskin and friends led a caravan of 60 buses, vans, and trucks from San Francisco on a four-month speaking tour across the US. Along the way, they became a community, lacking only in land to put down roots. After returning to California, the decision was made to buy land together. Combining all their resources would finance purchase of only about fifty acres in California. Another month on the road brought the group back to Tennessee, where they checked out various places that might be suitable to settle. They decided on property in Lewis County, about seventy miles south of Nashville. After buying 1,064 acres (4.1 km2) for $70 per acre, the group began building its community in the woods alongside the network of crude logging roads that followed its ridgelines. Shortly thereafter, an adjoining 750 acres (3.0 km2) were purchased for $100 per acre.
From its founding in the 1970s, Farm members took vows of poverty and owned no personal possessions other than clothing and tools, though this restriction loosened as time passed. During that time, Farm members did not use artificial birth control, alcohol, tobacco, man-made psychotropics, or animal products. Many of the early buildings on the Farm were unconventional, ranging from converted school buses to modified 16 x 32 army tents. Over time, larger homes were constructed, each providing shelter for multiple families and single people, often with up to 40 people under one roof. Visitors were also housed in a two-story tent made by sewing two army tents together.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools Summertown TN
Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Summertown TN.
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