How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Douglas Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Douglas GA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Douglas GA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Douglas GA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here 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 proficiency exam and can be acquired 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 needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices offered 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 minimum amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although 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 programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Douglas GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees incorporate 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Douglas GA, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Douglas GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Douglas and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Douglas GA
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Douglas GA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated 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 need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Douglas GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Douglas GA HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Douglas GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Douglas GA HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Douglas GA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor 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 with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Douglas GA, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Douglas GA?
Douglas is a city in Coffee County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 11,589. Douglas is the county seat of Coffee County and the core city of the Douglas, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 50,731 as of the 2010 census.
Douglas was founded in 1855 as the seat of the newly formed Coffee County. It was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas from Illinois, a renowned stump speaker who was the challenger to Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860.
Douglas was chartered as a town in 1895 and as a city in 1897. In 1895, the railroad came to Douglas and the community began to boom. In 1909, the Georgia and Florida Railway located its offices in Douglas.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Douglas GA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you should select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined 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 appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Douglas GA.
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