How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Chickamauga Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Chickamauga GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Chickamauga GA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Chickamauga GA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Chickamauga GA.
- Certificate. Generally 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 delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Chickamauga GA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Chickamauga GA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Chickamauga and study supplies 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 responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Chickamauga GA
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Chickamauga GA area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Chickamauga GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Chickamauga GA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Chickamauga GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Chickamauga GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Chickamauga GA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chickamauga GA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make 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 due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Chickamauga GA?
Before the 1800s, the Chickamauga-Cherokee settled around Chickamauga Creek, where they farmed and hunted the lands. They stayed there until their forced exodus during the Trail of Tears (1838). In the early to mid-19th century, the present town of Chickamauga was a large plantation in the rolling hills of north Georgia. When the Cherokee Nation was divided into districts and courts in 1820, Crawfish Springs was made the capital of the new Chickamauga District. After the Cherokee removal, the first court in Walker County was held there in the former Cherokee courthouse. The local post office was Crawfish Springs.
During the War of 1812, 500 Cherokee warriors from the area fought alongside General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, against the Creek Indians, who were aligned with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The battle ended in a victory for the Americans.
The Lee and Gordon families greatly influenced Chickamauga's post-Cherokee history. In 1836 Gwinnett County native James Gordon established a plantation at Crawfish Springs and built a grist mill two miles east of town, on Chickamauga Creek. Lee and Gordon's Mill, which contained the area's first general store, was situated near a blacksmith shop and stagecoach stop. From 1840 to 1847, Gordon built his Doric-columned brick house (known today as the Gordon-Lee Mansion), which overlooks Crawfish Springs.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Chickamauga GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered 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 checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Chickamauga GA.
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