How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near San Manuel Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near San Manuel AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in San Manuel AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry 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 skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for San Manuel AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained 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 field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn 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 certain that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished 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 relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near San Manuel AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning 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 future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in San Manuel AZ, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some San Manuel AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from San Manuel and study supplies may be lessened, 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 obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near San Manuel AZ
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the San Manuel AZ area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the San Manuel AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of San Manuel AZ HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local San Manuel AZ HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment 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, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local San Manuel AZ HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your San Manuel AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Manuel AZ, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers 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 San Manuel AZ?
San Manuel, Arizona
San Manuel was built in 1953 by Del E. Webb Construction Company as a company town to serve the then-new San Manuel copper mine, mill and smelter complex. When copper prices fell in the late 1990s, Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), the owner of the mine and smelter complex shuttered both operations in June 1999. The closing saw 2,500 people lose their jobs. The mine and smelter were permanently closed in 2003.
The town is on the edge of the Sonoran Desert and overlooks the San Pedro River valley and panoramic Galiuro Mountains. Today San Manuel is a destination for leisure, hunting, backroad travel and off-road dirt bikes and ATV's. It also is a gateway city of The Arizona Trail. Nearby towns are Oracle and Mammoth. Both are within 10 mi (16 km) of San Manuel and make up a tri-community area.
San Manuel is located at 32°36′18″N 110°38′0″W / 32.60500°N 110.63333°W / 32.60500; -110.63333 (32.605048, -110.633340), in the San Pedro River Valley at an elevation of about 3,500 feet (1,100 m). San Manuel is about 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Tucson.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near San Manuel AZ
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this post, 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 features to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices 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 also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in San Manuel AZ.
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