How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Union South Carolina
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Union SC. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Union SC
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Union SC HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. 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 achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of choices 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, typically accomplished in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Union SC.
- 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 trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Union SC, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Union SC students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Union and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Union SC
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Union SC area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Union SC area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Union SC HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Union SC HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Union SC HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Union SC residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Union SC, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Union SC?
Unión SC was founded in 1922, from a merge of Comercial Football Club and Victoria Sport Club. In the 1933–34 season, the club won the Tercera División, and disputed one campaign in Segunda División, finishing last in its group.
In 1937, Unión SC was disbanded, mainly due to World War II. The club did not return to an active status, but the club's board and players joined Football Club Vigués in 1939, acting mainly as Celta de Vigo's reserve team.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Union SC
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 contractor in Union SC.
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