How to Find the Right HVAC School near Hoschton Georgia
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Hoschton GA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Hoschton GA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Hoschton GA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must 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 mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Hoschton GA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 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 dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Hoschton GA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Hoschton GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Hoschton and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Hoschton GA
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Hoschton GA area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Hoschton GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Hoschton GA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Hoschton GA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Hoschton GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Hoschton GA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hoschton GA, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Hoschton GA?
Hoschton is located in western Jackson County at 34°05′46″N 83°45′40″W / 34.096164°N 83.761083°W / 34.096164; -83.761083. It is bordered to the north by the city of Braselton. Georgia State Route 53 runs through the center of town, leading northwest 12 miles (19 km) to Oakwood and south 9 miles (14 km) to Winder. Jefferson, the county seat, is 12 miles (19 km) to the east, and Atlanta is 50 miles (80 km) to the southwest.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hoschton has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2), or 0.79%, are water. Water bodies in Hoschton drain west and east into tributaries of the Mulberry River, part of the Oconee River watershed.
The Hoschton ZIP code 30548 goes well beyond the city limits, and results in the post office delivering mail into four counties: Jackson, Gwinnett, Hall, and Barrow. Hoschton's ZIP code is used within about 40% of the Braselton town limits.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Hoschton GA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Hoschton GA.
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