How to Select an HVAC School near Rainsville Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Rainsville AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Rainsville AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Rainsville AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Rainsville AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 traditional four 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Rainsville AL, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Rainsville AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Rainsville and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Rainsville AL
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Rainsville AL area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Rainsville AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent 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 broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Rainsville AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Rainsville AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Rainsville AL HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Rainsville AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Rainsville AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Rainsville AL?
Rainsville is a city in DeKalb County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,948, up from 4,499 in 2000. Rainsville is located on top of Sand Mountain, a southern extension of the Cumberland Plateau.
An EF5 tornado struck the city on April 27, 2011, leaving 25 fatalities. It initially touched down 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest in Lakeview, causing structural damage to small buildings and snapping trees. It grew in intensity, and the path width increased from around fifty yards to a half a mile, as the rotation entered the Rainsville and Sylvania communities. Damage included houses that were completely removed from foundations and debris scattered for about one mile, trees debarked, and a few mobile homes were destroyed with debris strewn for about a mile downstream. In Sylvania, some of these houses removed from foundations contained anchor bolts and foundation straps.
Rainsville is located northwest of the center of DeKalb County at 34°29′32″N 85°50′43″W / 34.49222°N 85.84528°W / 34.49222; -85.84528 (34.492258, -85.845316). It is bordered to the northeast by Sylvania, to the northwest by Powell, to the southwest by Shiloh, and to the southeast by Pine Ridge.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Rainsville AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Rainsville AL.
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