How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Douglasville Georgia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Douglasville GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Douglasville GA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Douglasville GA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Douglasville GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include 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 conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning 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, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Douglasville GA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Douglasville GA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Douglasville and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Douglasville GA
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Douglasville GA area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Douglasville GA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Douglasville GA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Douglasville GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Douglasville GA HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Douglasville GA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few 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 assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Douglasville GA, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Douglasville GA?
Located along a natural rise in the topography, Douglasville was originally known as "Skint Chestnut." The name was derived from a large tree used by Native Americans as a landmark; it was stripped of its bark so as to be more conspicuous.
Douglasville was founded in 1874 as the railroad was constructed in the area. That same year, Douglasville was designated as the county seat of the recently formed Douglas County. The community was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
On September 21, 2009, Douglas County was devastated by the worst flood in Georgia history. Over 18 inches (457 mm) of rain fell in one night, destroying many roads and homes. The county was later declared a disaster area, and the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency. The flooding most affected the areas of Douglasville, Villa Rica, Austell, Lithia Springs, and Chapel Hill. The disaster killed more than eight people in the county, most of them in the Douglasville area.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Douglasville GA
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 professional in Douglasville GA.
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