How to Choose an HVAC Training Class near Sulligent Alabama
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Sulligent AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just 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. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Sulligent AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Sulligent AL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Sulligent AL.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities 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. Normally taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Sulligent AL, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Sulligent AL students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Sulligent and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations 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 active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Sulligent AL
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Sulligent AL area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Sulligent AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 list of graduates, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Sulligent AL HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Sulligent AL HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Sulligent AL HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Sulligent AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sulligent AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Sulligent AL?
Sulligent is a city in Lamar County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 1,927, down from its record high of 2,151 in 2000. From 1910-1950 and again in 2000, it was the largest community in Lamar County before losing the distinction both times to the county seat of Vernon. The name is derived from railroad personnel.
Sulligent was first called "Elliott", in honor of the chief engineer of the Kansas City-Memphis-Birmingham Railroad, then renamed one month later with the portmanteau “Sulligent”, in honor of Sullivan, the superintendent of the railroad, and Sargeant, the passenger agent of the railroad.
The production and processing of cotton was an important industry. The primary business in Sulligent in the mid-1890s was cotton, with over 2500 bales ginned each year and shipped via the railroad. At one time, Sulligent Cotton Oil Company was known as the largest cotton gin under one roof.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Sulligent AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should select a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Sulligent AL.
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