How to Find the Right HVAC Training Course near Sparks Nevada
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Sparks NV. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Sparks NV
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Sparks NV HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are some 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 proficiency exam and may 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 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 score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Sparks NV.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Sparks NV, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Sparks NV students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Sparks and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses near Sparks NV
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Sparks NV area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Sparks NV area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 alumni, which may result in 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 a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sparks NV HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction 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. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Sparks NV HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Sparks NV HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Sparks NV residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sparks NV, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Sparks NV?
Sparks is a city in Washoe County, Nevada, United States. It was founded in 1904 and incorporated on March 15, 1905, and is located just east of Reno. The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population count was 90,264. It is the fifth most populous city in Nevada. It is named after the late Nevada Governor John Sparks, a member of the Silver Party.
The area that is now Sparks was first inhabited by the Washoe people. Euro-American settlement began in the early 1850s, and the population density remained very low until 1904 when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a switch yard and maintenance sheds there. As the population increased a city was established, first called Harriman, after E. H. Harriman, president of the Southern Pacific, and then renamed Sparks, after John Sparks, then Governor of Nevada.
Sparks remained a small town until the 1950s, when economic growth in Reno triggered a housing boom north of the railroad in the area of Sparks. During the 1970s, the area south of the railroad started to fill up with warehouses and light industry. In 1984, the tower for the Nugget Casino Resort was finished, giving Sparks its first, and currently only, high-rise casino. In 1996, the redevelopment effort of the B Street business district across from the Nugget that started in the early 1980s took a step forward with the opening of a multi-screen movie complex and the construction of a plaza area. This area, now known as Victorian Square, is a pedestrian-friendly district that hosts many open-air events.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Sparks NV
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Sparks NV.
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