How to Enroll In an HVAC School near Lookout Mountain Georgia
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Lookout Mountain GA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Lookout Mountain GA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Lookout Mountain GA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following 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 competency examination and may 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in just six months, although some programs 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 comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Lookout Mountain GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Lookout Mountain GA, eventually going back to obtain 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 Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Lookout Mountain GA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Lookout Mountain and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Lookout Mountain GA
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Lookout Mountain GA area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Lookout Mountain GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Lookout Mountain GA HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught together 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lookout Mountain GA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lookout Mountain GA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lookout Mountain GA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications 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 are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lookout Mountain GA, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Lookout Mountain GA?
Lookout Mountain, Georgia
Lookout Mountain is a city in Walker County, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Chattanooga metropolitan statistical area. The population was 1,617 at the 2000 census and 1,602 at the 2010 census. The city is located on Lookout Mountain, home to such attractions as Rock City. This city is also home to Covenant College.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,617 people, 618 households, and 441 families residing in the city. The population density was 608.3 people per square mile (234.7/km²). There were 657 housing units at an average density of 247.2 per square mile (95.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.01% White, 0.19% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.
There were 618 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 4.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.16.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Lookout Mountain GA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right 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 appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Lookout Mountain GA.
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