How to Enroll In an HVAC Training Course near Simpsonville South Carolina
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Simpsonville SC. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors 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 criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Simpsonville SC
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Simpsonville SC HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam 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 field experience in addition to 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. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction 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 amount of time, usually completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Simpsonville SC.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two 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 towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Simpsonville SC, eventually returning to earn 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 Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Simpsonville SC students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Simpsonville and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. 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 limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Simpsonville SC
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Simpsonville SC area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Simpsonville SC area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory 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 can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Simpsonville SC HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Simpsonville SC HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Simpsonville SC HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Simpsonville SC home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out 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 assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Simpsonville SC, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Simpsonville SC?
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Simpsonville is a city in Greenville County, South Carolina, United States. It is part of the Greenville–Mauldin–Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 18,238 at the 2010 census, up from 14,352 in 2000. The population had risen to an estimated 20,736 as of 2015. Simpsonville is part of the "Golden Strip", along with Mauldin and Fountain Inn, an area which is noted for having low unemployment due to a diversity of industries including Para-Chem, Kemet, Sealed Air and Milliken.
Simpsonville is located in southeastern Greenville County at 34°44′0″N 82°15′36″W / 34.73333°N 82.26000°W / 34.73333; -82.26000 (34.733375, -82.260001), between Mauldin to the northwest and Fountain Inn to the southeast. The center of town has an elevation of 866 feet (264 m) above sea level.
South Carolina Highway 14 runs through the center of Simpsonville as Main Street, leading north 16 miles (26 km) to Greer and southeast 5 miles (8 km) to the center of Fountain Inn. The center of Mauldin is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to the northwest via South Carolina Highway 417. Interstate 385 passes through Simpsonville west of the city center, with access from Exits 26 through 29. I-385 leads northwest 14 miles (23 km) to the center of Greenville and southeast 28 miles (45 km) to Interstate 26 near Clinton. Columbia, the state capital, is 89 miles (143 km) southeast of Simpsonville.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Simpsonville SC
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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 if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Simpsonville SC.
More Fabulous Cities in South Carolina
Business Results 1 - 10 of 84