How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Excel Alabama
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Excel AL. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things 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 other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Excel AL
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Excel AL HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. 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 earned by passing a competency exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Excel AL.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 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 dependent on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Excel AL, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly 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 instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Excel AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Excel and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Excel AL
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Excel AL area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Excel AL area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative 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 use 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 additionally that it has the network of Excel AL HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Excel AL HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Excel AL HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Excel AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Excel AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Excel AL?
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Excel AL
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Excel AL.
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