How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Graysville Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Graysville AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Graysville AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Graysville AL HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few 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 competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire 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 sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just six months, although some courses 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 advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Graysville AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, together with 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Graysville AL, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Graysville AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Graysville and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Graysville AL
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Graysville AL area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Graysville AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of Graysville AL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Graysville AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Graysville AL HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Graysville AL 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some 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 comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Graysville AL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Graysville AL?
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, this city was called Gin Town. Because it had the only cotton gin for miles around, the community grew. It incorporated as Graysville initially in 1897. As the town grew, the need for businesses and houses of worship grew as well. One street over from this site, the Union Church was established in the early 1900s. All people of all denominations met and worshiped there as it was the only church for miles around. In 1927, the town charter was revoked on the grounds of "inactivity."
This city was reincorporated on November 17, 1945. The first meeting of the town council took place at the old school house on January 16, 1946. Later that year, the original city council established the Graysville Water Works system. In 1949, the city council established the Graysville Gas Board which eventually became the Graysville Municipal Gas System. During the 1950s and 1960s, the local coal mines and steel mills attracted families from all over Alabama. As a result of this growth, Graysville established the City’s first series of home developments and subdivisions. During the 1980s and 1990s, Graysville expanded its city limits by annexing multiple acres in what was then unincorporated in Jefferson County.
Graysville is located at 33°37′37″N 86°57′44″W / 33.62694°N 86.96222°W / 33.62694; -86.96222 (33.626955, -86.962255). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16 km2), all land.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Graysville AL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a trade 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 ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 technician in Graysville AL.
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