How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Camden Alabama
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Camden AL. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Camden AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Camden AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the significant 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 may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you choose 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 decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Camden AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money 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 Camden AL, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Camden AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Camden and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Camden AL
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Camden AL area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Camden AL area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in acquiring 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Camden AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Camden AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Camden AL HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Camden AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Camden AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Camden AL?
What is now Camden was established on property donated by Thomas Dunn from his plantation holdings in order to have a new town founded on the site in 1833 to serve as the county seat. Dunn's Federal style house, built in 1825, is the oldest documented house in the town. The first county seat was in the community of Canton Bend.
The county seat was moved in 1833 to Barboursville, later renamed Camden. It had been named Barboursville in honor of United States Congressman Philip Barbour of Virginia. Incorporated in 1841, Camden was renamed by local physician John D. Caldwell in honor of his hometown of Camden, South Carolina.
The area depended on cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, which was worked by numerous African-American slaves. The earliest documented industries in the town were a brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator. The Camden Phenix was the town's earliest known newspaper. Townspeople founded a girls' school in 1844, the Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute, whose red-brick Greek-Revival style building was constructed from 1845–50. In 1976 the former school was adapted to house the Wilcox County Historical Society.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Camden AL
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Camden AL.
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