How to Choose an HVAC School near Rogers Arkansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Rogers AR. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Rogers AR
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Rogers AR HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. 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. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed 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 made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in as little as 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 relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Rogers AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Rogers AR, subsequently going back to acquire 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 Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Rogers AR students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Rogers and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Rogers AR
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Rogers AR area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Rogers AR area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential 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 utilize 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Rogers AR HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Rogers AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Rogers AR HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Rogers AR home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Rogers AR, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Rogers AR?
Rogers is located in Northwest Arkansas one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. Rogers was the location of the first Walmart store, whose corporate headquarters is located in neighboring Bentonville, Arkansas. Rogers is a city in the Ozarks in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. Daisy Outdoor Products, known for its air rifles, has both its headquarters and its Airgun Museum in Rogers.
As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 55,964, making it the state's-eighth largest city. Rogers is part of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Area, one of the fastest growing in the nation. The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Area, more commonly known as Northwest Arkansas, is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States, with 465,776 inhabitants as of the 2010 U.S. Census.
Rogers was named after Captain Brent Elliott Rogers, who was vice-president and general manager of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, also known as the Frisco. The town was established in 1881, the year the Frisco line arrived; it was at this time the area residents honored Captain Rogers by naming it for him. The community was incorporated on June 6, 1881.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Rogers AR
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Rogers AR.
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