How to Find the Right HVAC Training Course near Greenwood Arkansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Greenwood AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Greenwood AR
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Greenwood AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some 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 examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential 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 certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Greenwood AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically 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 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning 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 possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Greenwood AR, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Greenwood AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Greenwood and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Greenwood AR
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Greenwood AR area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Greenwood AR area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of Greenwood AR HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Greenwood AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Greenwood AR HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Greenwood AR home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs 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 Greenwood AR, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Greenwood AR?
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Greenwood AR
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 technician in Greenwood AR.
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