How to Enroll In an HVAC Training Course near Lithonia Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Lithonia GA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Lithonia GA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Lithonia GA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose 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 readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify 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 in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Lithonia GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited 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 mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Lithonia GA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some 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 may be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Lithonia GA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Lithonia and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job 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 lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Lithonia GA
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lithonia GA area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Lithonia GA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates 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 example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Lithonia GA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Lithonia GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lithonia GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lithonia GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lithonia GA, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Lithonia GA?
"Lithonia" means "city/town of stone". Lithonia is in the heart of the Georgian granite-quarrying and viewing region, hence the name of the town, from the Greek λίθος lithos, for stone. The huge nearby granite dome, Stone Mountain, is composed largely of a rock called Lithonia gneiss, a form of granite. The area has a history of rock quarries. The mines were served by the Georgia Railroad and Atlanta, Stone Mountain & Lithonia Railway. Some of the rock quarries have been converted to parkland and the rail lines to rail-trail.
Lithonia is located in southeastern DeKalb County at 33°42′46″N 84°6′21″W / 33.71278°N 84.10583°W / 33.71278; -84.10583 (33.712658, -84.105897).Interstate 20 passes just south of the community, with access from Exits 74 and 75. Lithonia is 18 miles (29 km) east of the center of Atlanta.
In 1805, Lithonia began as a small crossroads settlement of farmers. The town grew with the coming of the Atlanta Augusta Railroad in 1845, which allowed the granite quarrying industry in the area to flourish.
Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Lithonia GA
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Lithonia GA.
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