How do I Choose the Best HVAC Technician Training Program?
Choosing the best heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician training program is a matter of determining what it takes to be successful in the HVAC industry and choosing the program that best fits those needs. When you look for a HVAC technician training program, consider whether you will focus on a certain area of expertise, and look for a program that specializes in that area. Look for a school that has instructors with experience in the field, advanced computer technology and a wide variety of course subjects, and find out which schools have a high graduation rate.
HVAC technician training programs often last from six to 24 months. An HVAC technician training school that offers an apprenticeship program will far outweigh the benefits of a program that does not offer this type of training. An employer often will hire an apprentice after the apprentice becomes a certified HVAC technician. A valuable education comes with learning on-the-job skills and hands-on training.
An established HVAC technician training school should offer a wide range of classes and programs with skilled instructors who have worked in the HVAC industry. Schools offering advanced computer technology and HVAC software are a must in this field, because many software programs exist to calculate the necessary equipment loads for various buildings and environments. Only instructors who have actually worked in the field will be able to guide and teach all aspects of the rapidly expanding HVAC industry effectively. The best school should offer courses in repair and installation of heating and air conditioning systems for residential and commercial buildings. Electrical courses, shop math, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing and computer applications should be a high-priority focus for HVAC technical training programs.
When checking into an HVAC technician training program, it is wise to ask the school about the percentage of students enrolled in the program who successfully graduate each year. This will determine whether the program is effectively teaching students or whether it is lacking in instruction and guidance. A successful program should prepare the student for the HVAC certification exam, which covers the areas of maintenance, installation and repair of systems. Upon successful licensing and completing formal training and/or an apprenticeship, you might work independently, in a union or for a private company.
After you have completed the initial phase of technical training, you might specialize in a certain area of expertise, such as system installation, system maintenance or system repair. Equipment specialization also is an option, and it might include geothermal installation, commercial refrigeration, oil burners or even solar panel installation. A technical school that offers continuing education classes and specialization in a certain area of HVAC expertise will be invaluable to you. Some technical programs even offer assistance with job placement to assist the graduate to find HVAC work.
@Ceptorbi - If you want to specialize in air conditioning and refrigeration, you will need to get both your state HVAC certification and HVAC EPA certification. The EPA regulates the amount of pollutants that are released into the air, and this certification ensures that you know how to work with both low pressure and high pressure refrigerants.
HVAC-R programs also include training and education in the field of refrigeration, which is what the R in the name stands for, and HVAC-R programs usually require externships that allow the students to work in the field while learning. Like HVAC programs, HVAC-R programs vary in length. Diploma programs may be as short as six months while associate degree programs require two years of training.
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