How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Scottsboro Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Scottsboro AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Scottsboro AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Scottsboro AL HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade 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 earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some courses 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 training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Scottsboro AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Scottsboro AL, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Scottsboro AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Scottsboro and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Scottsboro AL
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Scottsboro AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Scottsboro AL HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Scottsboro AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Scottsboro AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Scottsboro AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Scottsboro AL?
Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 14,770. Named for its founder Robert Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County.
From its incorporation in 1870 until 1890, it was the largest community in Jackson County, losing the distinction from 1900 to 1920 to Bridgeport, but reclaiming the title in 1930 and holding it since that time.
It is located 30 miles each from the state boundaries of Georgia to the east (Dade County) and Tennessee to the north, about 45 miles from Huntsville, Alabama to the west and about 55 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee to the northeast.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Scottsboro AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire 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 as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Scottsboro AL.
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