How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Lowell Arkansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Lowell AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Lowell AR
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs 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 required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Lowell AR HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle 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 required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Lowell AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lowell AR, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Lowell AR students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Lowell and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Lowell AR
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lowell AR area and all over the USA to select 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, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Lowell AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lowell AR HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs 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 reviewing have referring relationships with local Lowell AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lowell AR HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Lowell AR home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lowell AR, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Lowell AR?
Lowell is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. Located within the Ozarks, first settlement was along Old Wire Road in the 1840s, and although destroyed during the Civil War, the community was reestablished by J. H. McClure and thrived when the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway came through the area in the 1880s. Today, the city is a growing bedroom community within the rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas region. Lowell is also home to the headquarters of trucking company J.B. Hunt. Lowell's population was 7,327 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46% since 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lowell has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.9 km2), of which 9.2 square miles (23.7 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.68%, is water. Lowell is located in southern Benton County at 36°15′38″N 94°8′22″W / 36.26056°N 94.13944°W / 36.26056; -94.13944 (36.260429, -94.139570). It is bordered by the cities of Springdale and Bethel Heights to the south, Cave Springs to the west and Rogers to the north. 4 miles (6 km) to the east is Beaver Lake, a large reservoir of the White River.
The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). The area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs morphology; instead the four principal cities are all located along Interstate 49 in a linear configuration. Lowell is also located along this corridor, between Springdale and Rogers.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Lowell AR
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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 available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Lowell AR.
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