How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Winston Georgia
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Winston GA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some future students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details 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 criteria will be addressed 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 technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Winston GA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Winston GA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple 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 attained by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Winston GA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Winston GA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain 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 receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Winston GA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Winston and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Winston GA
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Winston GA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Winston GA area have acquired 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 Winston GA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Winston GA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Winston GA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Winston GA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Winston GA, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Winston GA?
The 2004 Presidential Election results in Douglas County, Georgia were represented by 61% Republicans (Bush/Cheney), 38% Democrats (Kerry/Edwards), and 1% Other. The 2008 Presidential Election results in Douglas County, Georgia were represented by 50.41% Democrats (Obama/Biden), 48.58% Republicans (McCain/Palin), 0.76% Libertarians (Barr/Root) and 0.26% Other. The 2010 Senatorial General Election Data for Douglas County, Georgia were represented by 54% (20,056 votes) Republicans (Isakson), 43.7% (16,249 votes) Democrats (Thurmond), and 2.3% (858 votes) Other. The 2010 Gubernatorial General Election results in Douglas County, Georgia were represented by 49.13% (18,425 votes)Republicans (Nathan Deal), 46.99% (17,622 votes) Democrats (Roy E. Barnes), 3.86% (1,448 votes) Libertarians (John H. Monds), and 0.01% (4 votes) Other.
Although the Winston-area historical earthquake activity is significantly below Georgia's state average (It is 97% below the overall U.S. average.),  its historical tornado activity is above the state average (It is 135% greater than the overall U.S. average.). 
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Winston GA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should select 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 sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Winston GA.
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