How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Childersburg Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Childersburg AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Childersburg AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Childersburg AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Childersburg AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even 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 cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Childersburg 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 Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Childersburg AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Childersburg and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Childersburg AL
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Childersburg AL area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Childersburg AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Childersburg AL HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Childersburg AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Childersburg 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 commuting distance of your Childersburg AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized 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 witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools 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 Childersburg AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Childersburg AL?
Childersburg is a city in Talladega County in the U.S. state of Alabama. It was incorporated in 1889. At the 2010 census the population was 5,175. It claims a history dating back before 1540, when it was noted as a village of the Coosa Nation visited by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. The Alabama Army Ammunition Plant, important during World War II, was located 4 miles (6 km) north of Childersburg.
Successive indigenous peoples had lived in the area for thousands of years. In the 16th century, people identified as part of the Kymulga-phase culture (of the larger Mississippian culture) lived at Talisi, the former site of Childersburg. In the fall of 1540, the Spanish Hernando de Soto expedition rested here for about one month during its exploration of the Southeast. Childersburg calls itself "The Oldest City in America". The Abihka people (part of those who became known as the Muskogee or Creek) dominated the area by the 18th century.
The Alabama Army Ammunition Plant, a munitions plant, was established in Childersburg in 1941 and operated throughout World War II until August 1945. Operated by DuPont, the plant produced explosives, such as nitrocellulose, trinitrotoluene (TNT), and dinitrotoluene (DNT). The plant also secretly produced heavy water to support the Manhattan Project. In 1940 the town had about five hundred people. Over fourteen thousand workers came to build and later operate the new facility.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Childersburg AL
Picking the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Childersburg AL.
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