How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Rio Rancho New Mexico
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Rio Rancho NM. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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 benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Rio Rancho NM
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Rio Rancho NM HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational 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 achieved in as little as six 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 programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Rio Rancho NM.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Rio Rancho NM, later returning to earn 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 Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer 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 online, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Rio Rancho NM students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Rio Rancho and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Rio Rancho NM
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Rio Rancho NM area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Rio Rancho NM area have acquired 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 pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Rio Rancho NM HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Rio Rancho NM HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Rio Rancho NM HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Rio Rancho NM residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Rio Rancho NM, confirm that the schools 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. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Rio Rancho NM?
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Rio Rancho (Spanish: Río Rancho) is the largest city and economic hub of Sandoval County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County. It is the third-largest and also one of the fastest expanding cities in New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, Rio Rancho had a population of 93,820.
The Rio Rancho area was originally part of the Alameda Grant, which was founded by Spanish settlers in 1710. By the early 20th century, much of the land grant had been sold to land investment companies. Amrep Corporation purchased 55,000 acres (22,000 ha) in 1961 and turned the land into a housing development called "Rio Rancho Estates", with the first families moving in the early 1960s. Most of these early residents were New Yorkers, as the developers advertised heavily in New York media. Four top-ranking Amrep officials were convicted in 1977 of mail and land fraud by buyers who accused Amrep of aggressive marketing and selling land with little resale value at inflated prices. Despite legal challenges and sprawling land sales, the population grew ten-fold between 1970 and 1980 and the City of Rio Rancho was incorporated in 1981. The opening of a large Intel Corporation plant in 1981 had a major economic impact on the city.
Since the 1990s, Rio Rancho has taken steps to become more independent from neighboring Albuquerque, including the establishment of separate school and library systems and attempts to attract businesses to the area. The city's latest project is the Downtown City Centre development that includes a new city hall building, a new University of New Mexico West and Central New Mexico Community College campus, as well as the Santa Ana Star Center. The arena opened in October 2006. City Hall opened in September 2007.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Rio Rancho NM
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are ample 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 inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening 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 outlined in our checklist for comparing 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Rio Rancho NM.
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