How to Enroll In an HVAC School near Gilbert Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Gilbert AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Gilbert AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Gilbert AZ HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned 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 needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often accomplished in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Gilbert AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Gilbert AZ, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Gilbert AZ students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Gilbert and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Gilbert AZ
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Gilbert AZ area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely 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. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Gilbert AZ area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Gilbert AZ HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship 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. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Gilbert AZ HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Gilbert AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Gilbert AZ?
Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix, within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", Gilbert is currently the most populous incorporated town in the United States. It is the sixth-largest municipality in Arizona, and the fifth-largest in the Metropolitan Phoenix Area.
Gilbert encompasses 76 square miles (197 km2) and has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Greater Phoenix area. In the last three decades, Gilbert has grown at an extremely high rate, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 as of the 2010 census. The town grew at an average annual growth rate of nearly 13% during this 30-year period.
Gilbert owes its beginnings to William "Bobby" Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer's Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near Gilbert AZ
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Gilbert AZ.
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