How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Higden Arkansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Higden AR. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Higden AR
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Higden AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Higden AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations 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 getting some experience in the field in Higden AR, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer 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 on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Higden AR students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Higden and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Higden AR
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Higden AR area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Higden AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Higden AR HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Higden AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Higden AR HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Higden AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Higden AR, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Higden AR?
Higden is located in western Cleburne County at 35°34′15″N 92°12′13″W / 35.57083°N 92.20361°W / 35.57083; -92.20361 (35.570949, -92.203544), on the south and west shores of Greers Ferry Lake, a reservoir on the Little Red River. Arkansas Highways 16 and 92 run along the southern edge of the town and cross the lake at The Narrows, connecting Higden to Greers Ferry on the east shore.
As of the census of 2000, there were 101 people, 52 households, and 34 families residing in the town. The population density was 86.7/km² (225.7/mi²). There were 141 housing units at an average density of 121.0/km² (315.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.06% White, 2.97% Native American, 0.99% from other races, and 1.98% from two or more races. 4.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 52 households out of which 15.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.94 and the average family size was 2.37.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Higden AR
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should select a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should 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 training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Higden AR.
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