How to Find the Right HVAC Training Course near Heflin Alabama
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Heflin AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision 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 investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Heflin AL
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry 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 professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Heflin AL HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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 could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Heflin AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Heflin AL, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete 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 alternative may be a more practical solution for some Heflin AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Heflin and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Heflin AL
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Heflin AL area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Heflin AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing 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 dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Heflin AL HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Heflin AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Heflin AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Heflin AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation 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 experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Heflin AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Heflin AL?
Heflin was first settled in 1882 as a station on the railroad line from Atlanta. The town quickly grew and was incorporated in 1886. Until 1905, the County Seat of Cleburne County had been located at Edwardsville. In 1905, an election was held to move the county seat from Edwardsville to Heflin. The election results favored Heflin and were appealed to and upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court on July 1, 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,480 people, 1,384 households, and 925 families residing in the city. The population density was 216.9 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 93.9 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,384 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Heflin AL
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Heflin AL.
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