How to Pick an HVAC Training Course near Ocilla Georgia
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Ocilla GA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some 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. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Ocilla GA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Ocilla GA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Ocilla GA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Ocilla GA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Ocilla GA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Ocilla and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many 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, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Ocilla GA
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Ocilla GA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Ocilla GA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct 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 produce more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Ocilla GA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Ocilla GA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ocilla GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Ocilla GA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you get as much personalized 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Ocilla GA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Ocilla GA?
Ocilla was founded in 1880, incorporated as a town in 1897, and finally re-incorporated as a city in 1902. It is not clear whether Ocilla is named for the Seminole Chief Osceola, for an Oswichee Native American tribe, or, as proposed by historian John Goff, it could be an adaptation of the place name Auscilla. A 1981 Fitzgerald Herald-Leader says that "a tribe of Oswichee Indians once lived near the Ocmulgee River on land known in 1818 as Irwin County." There, towns were called Oswitchee and Ocilla, and sometimes Ocichi. The French census shows that a town called Ocichi existed there in 1750. A later census in 1832 gives Oswhichee as the name of another Indian village close to Osochi." It goes on with "The town's name was changed seven times. It was called by the Indians Assile, next Aglie, Axilla, Agulu, Ochile, and lastly Ocilla." This theory is less popular today.
The most popular theory is that Ocilla is named for Chief Osceola, who had a prominent role in the Second Seminole War. Allegedly, he camped in the area known as Western Heights in Ocilla and frequently could be found in the area until his capture and imprisonment at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. Osceola is probably the reason that the sports teams in Irwin County are now known as the Indians.
In the 1980s and 1990s Marie Watson was known in Ocilla as the "Christmas Lady." Watson would intricately decorate the property around her home on Cherry Street with lights and Christmas decorations and each year "Santa Claus" would visit the property, taking wishes for gifts from children. Watson became famous for her Christmas cheer but eventually stopped due to the hassle of decorating and because of her older age. Today, her tradition is somewhat carried on every year as the City of Ocilla now decorates Cumbee Park, the public park directly in front of Watson's former home, and holds a yearly session with Santa Claus.
Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Ocilla GA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Ocilla GA.
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