How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Class near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Flagstaff AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Flagstaff AZ HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Flagstaff AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together with 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 acquiring some experience in the field in Flagstaff AZ, eventually returning to acquire 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 Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide 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 on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Flagstaff AZ students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Flagstaff and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Flagstaff AZ
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Flagstaff AZ 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 relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might 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 broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Flagstaff AZ HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical 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 HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Flagstaff AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flagstaff AZ HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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 teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers 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 Flagstaff AZ?
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is located adjacent to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask 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 narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Flagstaff AZ.
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