How to Choose an HVAC School near Oneonta Alabama
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Oneonta AL. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Oneonta AL
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Oneonta AL HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians 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.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Oneonta AL.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Oneonta AL, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Oneonta AL students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Oneonta and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Oneonta AL
As soon as you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Oneonta AL area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Oneonta AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course 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 finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 alumni, which can mean 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Oneonta AL HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most 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 inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Oneonta AL HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment 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 instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Oneonta AL HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oneonta AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training 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 big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs 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 Oneonta AL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Oneonta AL?
Oneonta is a city in Blount County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,567. The city is the county seat of Blount County. Oneonta is home to the Covered Bridge Festival.
A post office called Oneonta has been in operation since 1889. The city was named after Oneonta, New York, the native home of a railroad official. In 1889, the county seat was transferred to Oneonta from Blountsville.
Oneonta is located in eastern Blount County at 33°56'32.291" North, 86°28'43.586" West (33.942303, -86.478774). It is situated in Murphree Valley between Red Mountain and Sand Mountain to the northwest and Straight Mountain to the southeast.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Oneonta AL
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to select a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Oneonta AL.
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