How to Choose an HVAC School near Apache Junction Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Apache Junction AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details 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 other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Apache Junction AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Apache Junction AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency 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 field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required 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 offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Apache Junction AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Apache Junction AZ, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Apache Junction AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Apache Junction and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Apache Junction AZ
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Apache Junction AZ area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two variables you will look at. 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 Apache Junction AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Apache Junction AZ HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Apache Junction AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Apache Junction AZ HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Apache Junction AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Apache Junction AZ?
Apache Junction, Arizona
The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.
As of the census of 2010, there were 35,840 people, 15,574 households, and 9,372 families residing in the city. The population density was 929.3 people per square mile (358.9/km²). There were 22,771 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.5% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.9% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.4% of the population.
There were 15,574 households out of which 19.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.85.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Apache Junction AZ
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak 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, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Apache Junction AZ.
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