How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Harrisonburg Louisiana
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Harrisonburg LA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Harrisonburg LA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Harrisonburg LA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Harrisonburg LA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Harrisonburg LA, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, 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 alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Harrisonburg LA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Harrisonburg and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Harrisonburg LA
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Harrisonburg LA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Harrisonburg LA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high 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 employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Harrisonburg LA HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Harrisonburg LA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Harrisonburg LA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Harrisonburg LA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Harrisonburg LA, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Harrisonburg LA?
Riley J. Wilson, who held Louisiana's 5th congressional district seat from 1915 to 1937, resided in Harrisonburg, where he was principal of Harrisonburg High School and then an attorney, district attorney, and state district court judge prior to his election to Congress.
Fort Beauregard, located on a bluff in the northern corner of the village, was a Confederate stronghold during the American Civil War. In 1863, the fort successfully defended Harrisonburg from the attack of four Union gunboats coming from the Black River to the Ouachita River. After four days of bombardment, little damage was done, and the gunboats retired down river.
The village of Harrisonburg formerly staged reenactments at Fort Beauregard, also known as Fort Hill, but those ceremonies ended in the late 20th century. These reenactments were brought back to life for 2015, but halted in 2016, still planned for future years to come.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Harrisonburg LA
Finding the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on 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 speak 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 choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Harrisonburg LA.
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