How to Choose an HVAC School near Commerce Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Commerce GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Commerce GA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for 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, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Commerce GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with 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 might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Commerce GA.
- Certificate. Normally 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c 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 tailored 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Commerce GA, later going back to obtain 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 Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer 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 online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Commerce GA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Commerce and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Commerce GA
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Commerce GA area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Commerce GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Commerce GA HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction 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 HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Commerce GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Commerce GA HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Commerce GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Commerce GA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Commerce GA?
The Lacoda Trail, which extended from present-day Athens to the north Georgia mountains, was a significant trade and travel route through this area. (Georgia State Route 334, which follows a 9-mile (14 km) section of this ancient trail, was designated the "Lacoda Trail Memorial Parkway" by the Georgia General Assembly in 1998.)
Local histories that originated in the mid-1800s describe a territorial war between the Creeks and Cherokees over the land in the county during the 1770s. This war never occurred. The Cherokees were decisively defeated by the Koweta Creeks in 1754. For about a decade after their 1754 defeat, all Cherokee villages in the Georgia colony and the Hiwassee River valley in North Carolina were abandoned.William Bartram traveled through northeastern Georgia in 1773 and described the Creeks as being completely dominant over the Cherokees. The Cherokees never occupied or held title to lands within the boundaries of Jackson County.
The Creek Confederacy ceded its lands east of the Oconee River in 1785. A subsequent treaty in 1793 ceded the remainder of the land that was to become Jackson County. The last corridor of Creek land, located west of Jackson County, was ceded in 1818.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Commerce GA
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Commerce GA.
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