How to Find the Right HVAC School near Hodges Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Hodges AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Hodges AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Hodges AL HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to 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 techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Hodges AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as 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 air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Hodges AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide 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 convenient solution for many Hodges AL students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Hodges and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools 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 online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Hodges AL
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Hodges AL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Hodges AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some 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 reviewing 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 signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Hodges AL HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Hodges AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Hodges AL HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Hodges AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hodges AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Hodges AL?
Hodges is located in southern Franklin County at 34°19′49″N 87°55′39″W / 34.33028°N 87.92750°W / 34.33028; -87.92750 (34.330242, -87.927394). The southern border of the town follows the Marion County line. Alabama State Route 172 passes through the town, leading northwest 9 miles (14 km) to Vina and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to Hackleburg. Alabama State Route 187 leads northeast from the center of Hodges 13 miles (21 km) to Belgreen.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.7 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.15%, is water. The town sits on the Tennessee Valley Divide, with the east side draining to Bear Creek, a north-flowing tributary of the Tennessee River, and the west side draining via Skirum Branch to Bull Mountain Creek, a west-flowing tributary of the Tombigbee River. 2 miles (3 km) north of Hodges is Rock Bridge Canyon Park, on bluffs overlooking Bear Creek.
As of the census of 2000, there were 261 people, 98 households, and 78 families residing in the town. The population density was 84.2 people per square mile (32.5/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 38.1 per square mile (14.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 100.00% White.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Hodges AL
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening 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 right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Hodges AL.
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