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When selecting an HVAC course, the first item to consider is your long-term goal. There are different levels of training for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) courses, ranging from courses offered as part of a professional program to short courses reviewing the maintenance of a specific HVAC system. These courses are available from community and career colleges.
Read the course description carefully, and make sure it provides the appropriate level of detail for your needs. If you are taking HVAC courses toward a certification, make sure the course is appropriate. People who are taking a single HVAC course as part of a maintenance mechanic program need to ensure there is a sufficient level of detail. Although a mechanic does not need to repair or maintain this type of system, a solid understanding can be very helpful when working with large production machinery.
The very best course provides access to the tools and systems required in this field. Simulation programs are available to allow students the opportunity to diagnose issues and attempt repairs. These software packages are expensive but provide a safe environment to practice important skills.
Every HVAC course must be taught by a licensed HVAC mechanic. These systems are complex and a mistake can result in personal injury or property damage. The level of skill of the instructor has a huge impact on the depth of material that can be covered. In this field, working experience is more valuable than academic credentials. Take the time to check the qualifications of the instructors before registering for the course.
When reviewing HVAC course options, make sure the school is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent agency to ensure minimum standards are met. Non-accredited schools tend to be less expensive, but the courses may not be accepted by the licensing board. Although this may not seem important when compared with the cost, the savings are not true savings if you must pay to take the course again from an accredited school.
Some people take an HVAC course to better understand a specific system or piece of equipment. These courses are typically vendor-sponsored and may be offered on site. There is no accreditation for these types of courses, but they provide valuable information required when maintaining or managing a large, complex HVAC system. Larger units can cost thousands of dollars to install and require skilled craftspersons to maintain and manage effectively.
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