HVAC Schools Near Me in Dorchester SC 29437

How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Class near Dorchester South Carolina

Dorchester SC HVAC tech servicing AC compressorOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Dorchester SC. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Tech in Dorchester SC

Dorchester SC HVAC tech servicing industrial furnacesHVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Dorchester SC HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry 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 attained by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs

Dorchester SC HVAC contractor installing residential water heaterThere are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished 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 applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Dorchester SC.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources 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 trade in Dorchester SC, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Classes Online

attending HVAC Training School Online in Dorchester SCChoosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer 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 participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Dorchester SC students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Dorchester and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.

Questions For HVAC Certification Courses near Dorchester SC

As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Dorchester SC area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Dorchester SC area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Dorchester SC HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Many HVAC vocational 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 within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Dorchester SC HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Dorchester SC HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dorchester SC home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out 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 handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dorchester SC, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Attending HVAC School near Dorchester SC?

Dorchester County, South Carolina

Dorchester County is named for its first settlement area, which was established by Congregationalists in 1696. These settlers applied the name "Dorchester" after their last residence in Dorchester, Massachusetts.[3]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 96,413 people, 34,709 households, and 26,309 families residing in the county. The population density was 168 people per square mile (65/km²). There were 37,237 housing units at an average density of 65 per square mile (25/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.05% White, 25.08% Black or African American, 0.73% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. 1.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 34,709 households out of which 40.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 14.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 20.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.13.

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Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Dorchester SC

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Dorchester SC.

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