How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Andalusia Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Andalusia AL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Andalusia AL
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Andalusia AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, although 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 might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Andalusia AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, some 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 traditional 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.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals 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 Andalusia AL, subsequently returning to obtain 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 Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Andalusia AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Andalusia and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Andalusia AL
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Andalusia AL area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Andalusia AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors 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 broader list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Andalusia AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Andalusia AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Andalusia AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Andalusia AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging 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 instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Andalusia AL, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Andalusia AL?
Andalusia was first settled in 1841 after flooding of the Conecuh River and the surrounding lowlands forced citizens to move to higher ground. The county seat was moved from Montezuma to Andalusia in 1844. The new town was originally called "New Site" but was known as Andalusia by the time a post office was established in 1846.
Andalusia, likely got its name from Spanish explorers or settlers since the land where the town is located was part of Spanish Florida until Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Prior to this treaty, the Spanish Empire claimed all land up to 32.22 degrees north, which would include present day Andalusia which is at 31.31 degrees north. Andalusia shares the name of Andalusia, a large southern autonomous community of Spain.
Andalusia is located slightly northwest of the center of Covington County at 31°18′N 86°29′W / 31.300°N 86.483°W / 31.300; -86.483 (31.309, -86.479). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51.3 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.79%, is water.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Andalusia AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Andalusia AL.
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