How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Eight Mile Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Eight Mile AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Eight Mile AL
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for 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 each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Eight Mile AL HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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 professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, although 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 programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Eight Mile AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding 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 tailored more towards a career in management or even 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 learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Eight Mile AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part 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 can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Eight Mile AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Eight Mile and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Eight Mile AL
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Eight Mile AL area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Eight Mile AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Eight Mile AL HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Eight Mile AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eight Mile AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Eight Mile AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eight Mile AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Eight Mile AL?
Eight Mile, Alabama
Eight Mile is an unincorporated community in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The community is named for its distance from the city of Mobile. Part of it was annexed in the mid-20th century by the city of Prichard, Alabama.
In 2008 lightning struck a mercaptan storage tank at a Mobile Gas Service Corp. underground natural gas pipeline at the Whistler Junction gas transfer facility within the Eight Mile community. An estimated 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal) of Mercaptan, the chemical odorant added to natural gas to help detect leaks, spilled into the soil and groundwater for 6 months, according to Alabama state environmental officials. It has migrated to ponds and surfaced, polluting the community's air.
Beginning in 2011, residents in Eight Mile began complaining of an overwhelming mercaptan odor and associated health problems. They have concerns about the damage to their health from the chemical, and to property values from its persistent rotten egg smell. They appealed for a state and federal investigation.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near Eight Mile AL
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening 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 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Eight Mile AL.
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