How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Benton Arkansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Benton AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Benton AR
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Benton AR HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Benton AR.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Benton AR, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Benton AR students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Benton and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Benton AR
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Benton AR area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Benton AR area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of Benton AR HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Benton AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Benton AR HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Benton AR home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Benton AR?
Benton is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. It was established in 1837. According to a 2006 Special Census conducted at the request of the city government, the population of the city is 27,717, ranking it as the state's 16th largest city, behind Texarkana. However, in the 2010 census, the city population increased to 30,681, making it the 12th largest city in the state of Arkansas. As of 2014, the population increased again to 33,625. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Benton, first settled in 1833 and named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, was formally chartered in 1836 when Arkansas became a state.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,906 people, 8,713 households, and 6,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,221.2 people per square mile (471.5/km²). There were 9,315 housing units at an average density of 519.3 per square mile (200.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.81% White, 4.46% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,713 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Benton AR
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Benton AR.
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