How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Ravenel South Carolina
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Ravenel SC. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Ravenel SC
HVAC is an acronym that is widely 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 typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Ravenel SC HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Ravenel SC.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources 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 trade in Ravenel SC, later returning to obtain 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 school online is one approach to getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Ravenel SC students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Ravenel and study materials may 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 career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Ravenel SC
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Ravenel SC area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Ravenel SC area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate 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 finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Ravenel SC HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Ravenel SC HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ravenel SC HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Ravenel SC residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training 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 students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ravenel SC, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Ravenel SC?
Ravenel, South Carolina
Ravenel is located in western Charleston County at 32°46′41″N 80°13′16″W / 32.77806°N 80.22111°W / 32.77806; -80.22111 (32.777930, -80.221112). It is bordered to the south by the town of Hollywood. U.S. Route 17 passes through the town, leading 20 miles (32 km) east to Charleston and 13 miles (21 km) west to Jacksonboro.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,214 people, 799 households, and 581 families residing in the town. The population density was 179.5 people per square mile (69.3/km²). There were 863 housing units at an average density of 70.0 per square mile (27.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 47.88% White, 49.95% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 1.13% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.66% of the population.
There were 799 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 21.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.25.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Ravenel SC
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Ravenel SC.
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