How to Find the Right HVAC Training Course near Benton Louisiana
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Benton LA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Benton LA
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, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Benton LA HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following 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 received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each credential offered near Benton LA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong 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. Typically taking two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate 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 standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal 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 approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Benton LA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Benton LA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Benton and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Benton LA
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Benton LA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Benton LA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Benton LA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Benton LA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area 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 working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Benton LA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Benton LA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Benton LA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Benton LA?
Benton is a town in and the parish seat of Bossier Parish, in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 2,035 at the 2000 census but declined to 1,948 in 2010. The town is named for 19th century U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton, a Democrat from Missouri and an ally of U.S. President Andrew Jackson.
The larger Bossier City is located south of Benton. In Benton Square downtown near the Bossier Parish School Board office, the town maintains several historical buildings, including primitive cabins, a one-room schoolhouse museum, and the boyhood home of William Clark Hughes, who was the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1926 to 1928.
On April 3, 1999, a powerful F4-rated tornado roared through portions of the town killing six people and injuring 90. A mobile home park located south of town and homes near the Palmetto Country Club were devastated. Neighborhoods affected included Haymeadow Trailer Park, Palmetto Park/Palmetto Place (adjacent to the country club), Bay Hills, Woodlake South, Twin Lake Community, and many other newer lakefront homes located around Cypress Lake. The population of Benton lakefront area nearly doubled between 2004 and 2008.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Benton LA
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Benton LA.
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