How to Select an HVAC School near Sun City West Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Sun City West AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Sun City West AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Sun City West AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two 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 in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related 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. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Sun City West AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Sun City West AZ, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Sun City West AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Sun City West and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities 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 hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Sun City West AZ
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Sun City West AZ area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Sun City West AZ area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 Sun City West AZ HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Sun City West AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sun City West AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sun City West AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sun City West AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Sun City West AZ?
Sun City West, Arizona
As of the census of 2010, there were 24,535 people, 14,873 households, and 8,550 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,245.2 people per square mile (866.9/km²). There were 18,218 housing units at an average density of 1,666.8 per square mile (643.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.8% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,873 households out of which 14 had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 2.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 35.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.05.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 0.1% under the age of 14, 0.1% from 15 to 19, 0.1% from 15 to 24, 0.2% from 25 to 29, 0.2% from 30 to 34, 0.2% 35 to 39, 0.4% 45 to 49, 1.5% from 50 to 54, 3.6% 55 to 59, 9.2% from 60 to 64, 13.8% from 65 to 69, 17.2% from 70 to 74, 19.5% from 75 to 79, 18.3% from 80 to 84, and 14.8% who were 85 years of age or older. The median age was 75.6 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Sun City West AZ
Selecting the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, 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 as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Sun City West AZ.
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