How to Find the Right HVAC Degree Program near Higley Arizona
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Higley AZ. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the heating and cooling school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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. These and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Higley AZ HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed 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 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the Higley AZ area school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several choices offered in Higley AZ for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in just 6 months, although 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 programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among Higley AZ entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the Higley AZ HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online School Options
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer 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 attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Higley AZ students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Higley and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Programs
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools near Higley AZ and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs near Higley AZ. Additionally, a number of states require 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their Higley AZ apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Higley AZ HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with area HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Higley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is in Arizona and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Higley AZ, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become an HVAC Contractor?When preparing to interview for a Heating and Cooling position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Heating and Cooling prospects is "What made you decide on Heating and Air Conditioning as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being an HVAC Tech, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Heating and Air Conditioning, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent HVAC Tech and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Right HVAC Technical Program in Higley Arizona
Picking the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 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 proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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 Higley AZ.
Some Infomation on Higley Arizona
Higley Unified School District
The Higley Unified School District #60, abbreviated HUSD #60 is a school district in Gilbert, Arizona. The school district serves portions of Gilbert and Queen Creek. It is one of Arizona's fastest growing school districts, with modest continued growth despite the downturn in the economy at the end of the 2000s (decade). The District owns eight elementary schools and two high schools. In August 2013, the district opened two new middle schools and all other elementary schools that hosted grades K-8 went down to K-6.
The Higley district was incorporated in 1909 with a territory far larger than its current size, but most of the land was transferred to other Valley school districts over the years. For instance, the Queen Creek Unified School District was carved out of the Higley district in 1947.Higley Elementary School was the only school in the district for the next 53 years. The district's high school students went to Gilbert Public Schools' high schools. As the Valley expanded, Larry Likes, then-superintendent of the district, brought it through an era of suburbia swallowing the local farmland. It was not long before the growth of the 1990s and 2000s caught up to the district's 24-square-mile (62 km2) service area. In 1999, the district legally unified; in 2000, it opened Coronado Elementary School, its first new school in decades; in 2001, Higley High School opened its doors; four years later, it opened up Gateway Pointe Elementary School, then a year later, it opened Cortina Elementary School; another year later, further growth induced the opening of Williams Field High School. In the spring of 2008, Higley became the first district in Arizona to receive K-12 accreditation by the AdvancED/North Central Accreditation Team. Graduating Higley seniors were offered $2.7 million in academic and athletic scholarships.
In early 2011, for the first time, Higley grew to larger than 10,000 students as a school district.
The district opened two middle schools (Cooley Middle School and Sossaman Middle School) to better prepare 7th and 8th grade students for high school and to alleviate projected capacity issues at its elementary schools.
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