How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Augusta Arkansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Augusta AR. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Augusta AR
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, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Augusta AR HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Augusta AR.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Augusta AR, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Augusta AR students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Augusta and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Augusta AR
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Augusta AR area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Augusta AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 list of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Augusta AR HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training 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. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Augusta AR HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Augusta AR HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Augusta AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Augusta AR, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Augusta AR?
Augusta is a city in Woodruff County, Arkansas, United States, located on the east bank of the White River. The population was 2,693 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Woodruff County.
Augusta is located at 35°17′11″N 91°21′39″W / 35.28639°N 91.36083°W / 35.28639; -91.36083 (35.286501, -91.360935). Augusta is located approximately 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Little Rock and 81 miles (130 km) west of Memphis, Tennessee.[Note 1] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2), all land.
Augusta is located in the Arkansas Delta, one of the six primary geographic regions of Arkansas. The Arkansas Delta is a subregion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, which is a flat area consisting of rich, fertile sediment deposits from the Mississippi River between Louisiana and Illinois. Prior to settlement, Woodruff County was densely forested, with bayous, sloughs, and swamps crossing the land. Seeking to take advantage of the area's fertile soils, settlers cleared the land to better suit row crops.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Augusta AR
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Augusta AR.
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