How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Lakeside Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Lakeside AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Lakeside AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Lakeside AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in 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 school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Lakeside AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. 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 & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Lakeside AZ, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for some Lakeside AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lakeside and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Lakeside AZ
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lakeside AZ area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lakeside AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Lakeside AZ HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Lakeside AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area 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 in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lakeside AZ HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lakeside AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lakeside AZ, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Lakeside AZ?
Pinetop–Lakeside is a small town in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 4,282. It was founded in 1984 when the neighboring towns of Pinetop and Lakeside merged.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a popular summer resort and second-home area for Arizona desert residents. In 2002, a large forest fire, the Rodeo-Chediski fire, threatened the town and forced an evacuation. The town is near extensive forests, and in normal times is a popular recreational area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.71%) is water.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Lakeside AZ
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lakeside AZ.
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