How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Conyers Georgia
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Conyers GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Conyers GA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Conyers GA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Conyers GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide 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 cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Conyers GA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on 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 may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Conyers GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Conyers and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Conyers GA
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Conyers GA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Conyers GA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Conyers GA HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Conyers GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Conyers GA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Conyers GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify 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 in the evening or on weekends near Conyers GA, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Conyers GA?
Conyers is the only city in Rockdale County, Georgia, United States. The city is twenty-four miles (38.6 km) east of Atlanta. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 15,195. The city is the county seat of Rockdale County. The formerly separate town of Milstead is now part of Conyers.
Before European settlement, the area which is now Conyers, along with the surrounding county of Rockdale, was occupied by mound-building Native Americans. As time progressed, the Muscogee (or Creek) and Cherokee natives shared a common border here. This border was known as the "Great Indian Road," and is known now as the "Hightower Trail". This trail was used by white settlers following the American Revolution.
Between 1816 and 1821, the area known as Rockdale was open for settlement. John Holcomb, a blacksmith, was the first settler in what is now Conyers. He settled where the current Rockdale County Courthouse is located, in the middle of Conyers on Main Street.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Conyers GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Conyers GA.
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