How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Summerdale Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Summerdale AL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some 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. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Summerdale AL
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Summerdale AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as 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 made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians 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 could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training 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 minimum amount of time, often 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 applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Summerdale AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Summerdale AL, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require 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 balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Summerdale AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Summerdale and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near Summerdale AL
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Summerdale AL area and all over the Country to pick 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 look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Summerdale AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train 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 graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Summerdale AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational 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 businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Summerdale AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Summerdale AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Summerdale AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Summerdale AL, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Summerdale AL?
Summerdale is a rural town in south-central Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. It is the site of the Naval Outlying Field Summerdale. At the 2010 census the population was 862. It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summerdale is located at 30°29'15.468" North, 87°42'4.036" West (30.487630, -87.701121).Alabama State Route 59 passes along the west side of the town, leading north 5 miles (8 km) to Robertsdale and south 6 miles (10 km) to Foley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 655 people, 255 households, and 184 families residing in the town. The population density was 125.7 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 282 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.23% White, 4.89% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Nearly 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Summerdale AL
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a technical 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 state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options 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 appropriate questions as we have outlined 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 right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Summerdale AL.
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