How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Hartford Arkansas
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Hartford AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Hartford AR
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Hartford AR HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some 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 proficiency 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Hartford AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Hartford AR, eventually 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 Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Hartford AR students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Hartford and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Hartford AR
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Hartford AR area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Hartford 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. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at 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 suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Hartford AR HVAC employers to help 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 technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Hartford AR HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Hartford AR HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Hartford AR residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hartford AR, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Hartford AR?
As of the census of 2000, there were 772 people, 299 households, and 217 families residing in the city. The population density was 427.3 people per square mile (164.7/km²). There were 346 housing units at an average density of 191.5/sq mi (73.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.52% White, 1.17% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 1.55% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. 2.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 299 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Hartford AR
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Hartford AR.
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