How to Select an HVAC College near Enterprise Alabama
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Enterprise AL. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the heating and cooling school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Enterprise AL HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the Enterprise AL area program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered in Enterprise AL for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among Enterprise AL entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the Enterprise AL HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Enterprise AL students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Enterprise and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools near Enterprise AL and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools near Enterprise AL. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their Enterprise AL apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Enterprise AL Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with area HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Enterprise AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is in Alabama and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Heating and Cooling Technician?When preparing to interview for an HVAC job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask Heating and Cooling applicants is "What compelled you to decide on Heating and Air Conditioning as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming an HVAC Contractor, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Heating and Air Conditioning, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional HVAC Contractor and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right HVAC Vocational College in Enterprise Alabama
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this post, you need to select a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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 if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Enterprise AL.
Some Infomation on Enterprise Alabama
Enterprise is a city in the southeastern part of Coffee County near the southwestern part of Dale County in the southeastern part of Alabama in the Southern United States. The population was 26,562 at the 2010 census. Enterprise is the primary city of the Enterprise Micropolitan Statistical Area (with the portion of the city located in Dale County part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area), and is also part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area.
Enterprise is famous for the Boll Weevil Monument, a large monument of a woman holding a boll weevil, which is located in the middle of Main Street. The city erected the statue because the destruction of the cotton crop by the boll weevil had led to agricultural diversity, starting with peanuts and more prosperity than had ever come from cotton alone. It is said to be the only statue to an insect pest in the world. Enterprise is right outside Fort Rucker, an Army base which is the home of Army Aviation.
Enterprise is home to Enterprise State Community College.
The founder of Enterprise, John Henry Carmichael, first settled there in 1881. Carmichael opened a store, which attracted more settlers to the area, and by the next year a post office was relocated from the settlement of Drake Eye to the north to Enterprise. In 1896, with 250 people having settled there, the city of Enterprise incorporated. Soon afterward, the Alabama Midland Railway came to Enterprise, bringing with it opportunities for commerce and growth. By 1906, ten years after the city incorporated, its population had grown to 3,750.
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