How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Littlefield Arizona
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Littlefield AZ. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Littlefield AZ
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Littlefield AZ HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs 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.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Littlefield AZ.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources 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 trade in Littlefield AZ, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Littlefield AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Littlefield and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Littlefield AZ
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Littlefield AZ area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location 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. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Littlefield AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm 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. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Littlefield AZ HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 relationships with local Littlefield AZ HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Littlefield AZ 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 Littlefield AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Littlefield AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Littlefield AZ?
Littlefield is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Mohave County located in the Arizona Strip region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 308. It lies along Interstate 15 approximately 10 miles northeast of Mesquite, Nevada. Littlefield is located in the 86432 zip code.
Littlefield and neighboring Beaver Dam have the distinction of being the only towns in Arizona along I-15. Owing to its location in the Arizona Strip, northwest of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Virgin River, it is isolated by hundreds of miles from the rest of the state. Travel to other towns within Arizona requires crossing through either Nevada or Utah, or routing through unpaved roads to the rest of Arizona's road network.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Littlefield AZ
Picking the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Littlefield AZ.
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