How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Texarkana Arkansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Texarkana AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed 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 a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Texarkana AR
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Texarkana AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, usually completed in just 6 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 applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Texarkana AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Texarkana AR, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Texarkana AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Texarkana and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Texarkana AR
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Texarkana AR area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Texarkana AR area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Texarkana AR HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Texarkana AR HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already 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 Texarkana AR HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Texarkana AR home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges 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 observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers 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 reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Texarkana AR, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Texarkana AR?
Texarkana metropolitan area
The Texarkana, AR–Texarkana, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, is a two-county region anchored by the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas, and encompassing the surrounding communities in Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 143,486. Texarkana is a subset of the broader Ark-La-Tex region.
Texarkana was founded in 1873 on the junction of two railroads. The name is a portmanteau of TEXas, ARKansas, and nearby LouisiANA. One tradition tells of a Red River steamboat named The Texarkana, c. 1860. Another story mentions a storekeeper named Swindle in Red Land, Louisiana who concocted a drink called "Texarkana Bitters". A third account states that Col. Gus Knobel, a railroad surveyor, coined the name. Local lore suggests that, before Texas's annexation by the US, lawlessness ruled in the area that at times was claimed by various nations.
In 1876, Texarkana, Texas, was granted a charter under an act of the Texas legislature, and a Texarkana, Texas, post office operated from 1886 to 1892. Later, Congressman Morris Sheppard (D-TX) secured a postal order officially changing the name to "Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas".
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Texarkana AR
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Texarkana AR.
More Fabulous Cities in Arkansas