How to Choose an HVAC School near Lincoln Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Lincoln AL. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Lincoln AL
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Lincoln AL HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices offered 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 minimum amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of 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 in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Lincoln AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited 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 study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Lincoln AL, subsequently returning to obtain 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 school online is one approach in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Lincoln AL students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lincoln and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Lincoln AL
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Lincoln AL area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Lincoln AL area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. 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 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 may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lincoln AL HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Lincoln AL HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lincoln AL HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lincoln AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lincoln AL, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Lincoln AL?
Albert Lincoln Roker Jr. (born August 20, 1954) is an American weather forecaster, journalist, television personality, actor, and author. He is the current weather anchor on NBC's Today. Roker also appears occasionally as a co-anchor on NBC Nightly News. He has an inactive American Meteorological Society Television Seal #238.
On November 12, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Roker attempted to beat the unofficial world record for an uninterrupted live weather report of 33 hours held by Norwegian weather broadcaster Eli Kari Gjengedal. On November 14, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Roker set the Guinness World Record by reporting for 34 hours.
Al Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker Sr., a bus driver of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a B.A. in communications in 1976.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Lincoln AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you should select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Lincoln AL.
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