How to Select an HVAC School near Rector Arkansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Rector AR. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Rector AR
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Rector AR HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Rector AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Rector AR, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Rector AR students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Rector and study materials may 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 job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Rector AR
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Rector AR area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Rector AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves 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 recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program 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 complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Rector AR HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical 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 Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Rector AR HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Rector AR HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Rector AR residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Rector AR, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. 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, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Rector AR?
In 1881 the Texas and St. Louis Railroad laid out the town of Rector about 2 miles (3 km) to the south of an existing settlement named Scatterville, and the population of Scatterville gradually migrated to the new town.
Rector is located in southern Clay County along the southeastern edge of Crowley's Ridge. U.S. Route 49 passes through the city, leading northeast 13 miles (21 km) to Piggott and southwest 7 miles (11 km) to Marmaduke. In the southern part of the city, Arkansas Highway 90 (Main Street) intersects US 49.
As of the census of 2000, the racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.20% Asian, and 0.99% from two or more races. 0.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Rector AR
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out 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 appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Rector AR.
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