How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Class near Greensboro Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Greensboro AL. 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 close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Greensboro AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Greensboro AL HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Greensboro AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning 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 detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, many 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Greensboro AL, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Greensboro AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Greensboro and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Greensboro AL
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Greensboro AL area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Greensboro AL area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent 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 broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Greensboro AL HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Greensboro AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Greensboro AL HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Greensboro AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Greensboro AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Greensboro AL?
Greensboro is a city in Hale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 2,497, down from 2,731 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Hale County, Alabama, which was not organized until 1867. It is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Greensboro was incorporated as a town in December 1823 as "Greensborough". It was named in honor of American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. The name was soon simplified to "Greensboro". The community was known as "Troy" prior to incorporation.
Reflecting the history of the antebellum years and a culture built on cotton plantations to produce the commodity crop, several sites on the National Register of Historic Places in or near Greensboro are connected to this past. These include Glencairn, the Greensboro Historic District, Magnolia Grove, the McGehee-Stringfellow House, Millwood, and the Payne House.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Greensboro AL
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Greensboro AL.
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