How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Cameron LA

How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Class near Cameron Louisiana

air conditioner condensers in Cameron LAOnce you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Cameron LA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Specialist

Cameron LA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Cameron LA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important 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 earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Cameron LA homeThere are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially 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 provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Cameron LA.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning 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 long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money 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 Cameron LA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Online Schools

Cameron LA student attending HVAC school onlineChoosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Cameron LA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Cameron and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.

What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes

Questions to ask Cameron LA HVAC training schoolsAfter you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Cameron LA area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Many HVAC technical programs in the Cameron LA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Cameron LA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Cameron LA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school 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 technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Cameron LA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Cameron LA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cameron LA, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Considering an HVAC School near Cameron LA?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Cameron Louisiana area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Cameron, Louisiana

Cameron is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the parish seat of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] It is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area. After sustaining extreme damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008, the 2010 Census showed Cameron having a population of just 406, a 79% drop in population between the years 2000 and 2010.[2]

Nearly fifty years later, in late September 2005, Hurricane Rita hit Cameron. A 15-foot (4.6 m) storm surge and winds of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h) destroyed much of the town. Everyone had evacuated beforehand.[4]

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike leveled Cameron with a 12-foot (3.7 m) storm surge just as the town was recovering from Rita in 2005.[5] Ike destroyed more than 90 percent of the homes in the parish seat and caused catastrophic flooding in every part of the parish.

How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Cameron LA

Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally 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 training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether 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 right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Cameron LA.

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