How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Evergreen Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Evergreen AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Evergreen AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Evergreen AL HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, although 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 can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Evergreen AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Evergreen AL, eventually returning to obtain 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
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Evergreen AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Evergreen and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Evergreen AL
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Evergreen AL area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Evergreen AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Evergreen AL HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Evergreen AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Evergreen AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Evergreen AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Evergreen AL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Evergreen AL?
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Evergreen AL
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask 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 choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Evergreen AL.
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