How to Enroll In an HVAC School near Stennis Space Center Mississippi
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Stennis Space Center MS. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Stennis Space Center MS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Stennis Space Center MS HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination 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 professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives offered 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, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Stennis Space Center MS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Stennis Space Center MS, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide 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 via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Stennis Space Center MS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Stennis Space Center and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools 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 less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Stennis Space Center MS
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Stennis Space Center MS area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Stennis Space Center MS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Stennis Space Center MS HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Stennis Space Center MS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Stennis Space Center MS HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Stennis Space Center MS residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stennis Space Center MS, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Stennis Space Center MS?
John C. Stennis Space Center
The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) is a NASA rocket testing facility. It is located in Hancock County, Mississippi (United States), on the banks of the Pearl River at the Mississippi–Louisiana border. As of 2012[update], it is NASA's largest rocket engine test facility. There are over 30 local, state, national, international, private, and public companies and agencies using SSC for their rocket testing facilities.
The initial requirements for NASA's proposed rocket testing facility required the site to be located between the rockets' manufacturing facility at Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans, Louisiana, and the launch facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Also, the site required barge access as the rocket motors to be tested for Apollo were too large for overland transport. Additionally, the Apollo motors were too loud to be tested at Marshall Space Flight Center's existing test stands near Huntsville, Alabama. A more isolated site was needed.
After an exhaustive site selection process that included reviews of other coastal locations including Eglin Air Force Base in Florida plus islands in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, NASA announced formation of the Mississippi Test Facility (now known as Stennis Space Center) on Oct. 25, 1961, for testing engines for the Apollo Program. A high-terrace area bordering the East Pearl River in Hancock County, Miss., was selected for its location. NASA entrusted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the difficult task to procure each land parcel either by directly purchasing the land or through acquisition of a perpetual easement.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Stennis Space Center MS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of 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 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. 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 as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Stennis Space Center MS.
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