How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Geismar Louisiana
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Geismar LA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Geismar LA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Geismar LA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory 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.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Geismar LA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Geismar LA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Geismar LA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Geismar and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Geismar LA
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Geismar LA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Geismar LA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Geismar LA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Geismar LA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Geismar LA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Geismar LA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Geismar LA, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Geismar LA?
Geismar is an unincorporated community in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, United States and is at the heart of Louisiana's chemical corridor. Geismar is south of Prairieville and west of Gonzales. The community has two schools, Dutchtown Primary/ Middle School and Dutchtown High School, which are ranked among the top schools in the state of Louisiana. The Mississippi River flows to the southeast along the southwest side of the community. The area is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical systems due to its low elevation and its proximity to the coast of southeast Louisiana.
On the morning of June 13, 2013, an explosion occurred at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar. The plant produces 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene annually. Over 70 people were injured in the explosion, and two people were killed.
Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Geismar LA
Picking the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are ample practical 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Geismar LA.
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