Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions regarding our HVAC program? You may find the answers you are looking for below. If not, please feel free to fill out the form below or give us a call at 888-537-6640.

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

How Long is The HVAC Program?

This program is 283 clock hours. The program consists of 78 classroom hours and 205 lab hours. This is accomplished from 8am to 6pm Monday-Friday. It will take 6 weeks to complete the program. There are classes starting every 4-5 weeks throughout the calendar year. To find out more about our program, check out our program overview.

How Much Does It Cost?

The total cost for the program includes all learning materials: 6 week HVAC training program, iPad Mini loaded with mobile curriculum, professional tool kit with back pack, catered breakfast and lunch, $175 weekly dinner allowance, and student services with job placement assistance. The program can be paid for by usage of GI Benefits, scholarships, financial aid, cash/credit card or a combination of any of these. This follows our core belief that teaching someone this trade will change their life and offer job security. The tuition cost is a small amount compared to the earning potential in a field with such a high projection of growth over the next 20 years. For more information, and to find out the exact cost of your tuition, visit our Financial Aid page

What Skills/Qualifications Are Necessary to Enroll in The Program?

No prior HVAC experience is required! Students must be 18 years of age, have High School Diploma or GED, must have the ability to speak, read and write in English, and must complete all admissions paperwork, and financial aid paperwork if necessary. Prospective students will not be denied admission on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, age or veteran status (except where age, sex, or handicap constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification necessary to proper and efficient administration).

If I have a DUI or other background issues, can I work in the HVAC field?

Having background issues or a DUI does not necessarily disqualify you to work and be successful in this program. However, each state has different HVAC licensing requirements. Please check your state’s HVAC licensing requirements.

Who is hiring in your area?

Retail Ready Career Center has established alliances with contractors nationwide. We encourage all of our students to get online and perform a Google search to learn of HVAC companies in your area as well. Too see who is hiring in your area, or if there are any techs looking for work near your location, check out our Hire a Tech page.

When will I meet my Placement Counselor?

Your placement counselor will reach out to you right after you enroll. In most instances you will meet your Placement Counselor face to face for the first time on Day 1 of class, but if you’d like, we would love to video chat with you before you arrive. Job placement assistance begins immediately upon enrollment. For more information about how we can help you get employed, check out our Job Placement Assistance page.

Do I have to participate in the program to receive job placement assistance?

Yes. We only offer job placement assistance to those who have successfully completed or are in the process of successfully completing training.

Can I be placed in a job if I am not a Texas native?

Job placement occurs nation wide. If the contractors are in other states outside of Texas, the interviews are conducted via Skype and over the phone. Many contractors come to our school to conduct face to face interviews, but most face to face interviews are set up before you leave the program for the first week after you arrive home. To get more information on job openings or technicians in your area, check out our Hire a Tech page.

Do you have someone assist with resume writing?

Yes, we have trained professionals that will utilize your experience to create a resume appealing to contractors. You will be given an editable copy of your resume for your personal use.

When do I get my $175?

Students are given $175 cash each Monday while in the program to cover evening dinner. Breakfast and lunch are provided on campus.

Why is my iPad locked and when will it become unlocked?

The students’ iPads remain lock in efforts to ensure students are navigating appropriate content while maintaining focus on the program. Freely searching the internet can become a major distraction to the overall purpose of the course. iPads become unlocked upon completion or exit of the program and you take them with you.

How would I get to Saturday school?

Each student is responsible for making travel arrangements to attend Saturday school if they require make up hours or want to take part in tutoring or more hands on lab time. Many of our students will carpool, as some students live locally and have cars at the hotel, or they will call a cab or an Uber.

What is the dress code?

A vast majority of our Student population are military veterans. A vital ingredient of the military’s strength and effectiveness is the pride and self-discipline that our Students as American Soldiers bring to their Service through a conservative military image. At all times all Students are to present a professional and personal appearance as well as grooming. Facial hair should be appropriately trimmed and facial jewelry must be removed during Lab exercises. Standards regarding jewelry or any other items that may be a safety hazard is prohibited. The main objective is to maintain uniformity and to avoid an extreme or unprofessional appearance. Leaders at all levels must exercise good judgment when interpreting and enforcing this policy.

It is the responsibility of Retail Ready Career Center’s administration to ensure the Students are adhering to the dress code consisting of a neat and soldierly appearance; therefore, preparing our Students for potential job interviews, contractor visits and most importantly the workforce. Retail Ready Career Center has specific dress code guidelines, and it will be at the discretion of the School’s Administration to determine compliance of this policy. Violation of the specific prohibitions and requirements set forth in this policy may be punishable by grade penalty and any additional disciplinary actions deemed reasonable by RRCC School’s Administration.

Every Student will be issued School shirts. RRCC expects that each Student will appropriately wear these shirts daily with long jeans or cargo pants, a belt at waist level and no shorts of any kind. The shirts will be laundered each week on a specific day. At that time, the Students will be given clean shirts for the following week. This process is repeated each week for the duration of the program. Dress code violations include but are not limited to:

  • open toe shoes, sandals, slippers, flip-flops
  • short sleeve shirts
  • shorts
  • wearing of hats, baseball caps, hoodies, bandanas in class
  • visible undergarments, even when seated
  • athletic wear including gym shorts, jerseys, wind/jogging suits, etc.

The Students are expected to meet the following standards or guidelines with respect to personal grooming and hygiene maintenance:

  • consistent bathing and oral hygiene,
  • no heavily-scented perfumes, colognes or lotions,
  • clean, well-groomed hair; including beards, mustaches, goatees and sideburns (no artificial colors outside the norm),
  • clothing or attire must not interfere with the safe operation of duties or equipment,
  • no dangling, large hoop jewelry, or gauged ears, which may present a safety hazard, and
  • piercings are limited to a maximum of one (1) per ear. Any other visible piercings are prohibited (exceptions will be made where piercings are demanded by religion or culture, or if instructors and staff consider additional piercings not to be distracting or hazardous)

What should I pack?

Although you will receive 8 uniform T-shirts, you should pack enough pants, leisure wear and sleep wear for 6 weeks. There are coin operated laundry facilities at each hotel, so you will be able to wash your clothes. Also remember to pack any and all hygiene products (i.e. shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, etc.), medicines and prescriptions or inhalers, electronic accessories (i.e. phone chargers, laptop and chargers, etc.) and any other items you feel necessary for these 6 weeks. You are NOT allowed to bring guns or any other weapon with you whilst in attendance of the program. If you have forgotten anything once you arrive, hygiene kits are available for purchase (contact a Student Services Representative) or you can go to the nearest convenience store. PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible for all personal items brought with you to the program both while you are in the hotel and while you are on campus. We will assist in anyway we can if an incident does occur, but we are not responsible for the security of your personal items.

What is a welcome kit and when should I expect to receive one?

We send welcome kits to each new student starting 4 weeks from your scheduled start date. If you enroll within 4 weeks of your start date, your welcome kit will be sent out the day you enroll or first thing the next business day. Welcome kits contain one uniform T-shirt and valuable information regarding our campus, program and the Dallas area.

Can I bring a buddy?

We would love to enroll any and everyone willing and able to participate in the program. Speak to your student services representative about spouses and/or children coming with you if that is absolutely necessary. However, remember that this is not a 6-week vacation. This is an intense 6-week training program. We do not allow friends to accompany you to Dallas and stay in your hotel with you.

When will I meet my Student Services counselor?

A Student Services representative will contact you within 3 business days of your enrollment by phone. Student Services will coordinate and book your travel and hotel stay beginning 4 weeks from your scheduled start date. For more information regarding Student Services go to our Student Services page

What Do I Need to Bring to Class?

Students are not required to bring anything. When students come to class on the first day they will be given all necessary supplies and a toolkit with a carry bag. Inside the bag is: Tools, gauges, meters and other materials (that would cost approx. $1500 dollars) along with an iPad, notebook, writing utensil, and calculator. A few students have decided to bring things like extra writing utensils, notebooks, headlamps and other organizational tools that they felt would help them stay on top of their work and retain all of the material given. The tools will stay on site until after graduation, at which point students will be allowed to take everything they have been given with them.

What can I study before I arrive?

No prior experience or knowledge is required prior to beginning the program. However, if you would like to get a head start, you may want to be familiar with the Universal EPA Certification. You can Google search Universal EPA Certification, and there are several sites to choose from for study material. We recommend selecting a free practice test to get a feel for exactly what information is covered on the exam. You may also want to study for the “Universal 608” or “Building” (NOT “Automotive” which is the “Universal 609”) to get an understanding of the building side of EPA. Within the material, concentrate on NATE CORE, TYPE 1, TYPE 2 AND TYPE 3. Additionally, pay attention to any dates associated with Universal EPA. That being said, you will receive a Universal EPA study guide on day one of the program, so this is not something you will need to bring with you.

How many hours can I miss?

Students must attend all 283 clock hours. Clock hour definition: All attendance is based on clock hours where sixty minutes is considered one hour. Students must make up all hours missed, and opportunities for make up hours are given every Saturday throughout the program. Make up allowance is left up to the discretion of each instructor and, although it is a rare occurrence, instructors are allowed to deny requests to make hours of reasons for missing hours are considered unreasonable. Also, students are allowed to miss no more than 14.5 clock hours of class. If more than 14.5 clock hours are missed the student will be terminated. If an emergency or situation arises where you will be required to miss an extensive amount of class time, please see a Student Services Representative to ask about leave of absence options.

What is The Main Teaching Method?

“High Speed, Low Drag” is the best way to put it. Ken Vanderwiel, Program Director, has seen many technicians over his 30-year career that, although they had many certifications and made excellent grades, did not have enough hands on training or teaching to jump straight into a career and be successful. These same technicians had never touched some of the most basic components in HVAC, and instead spent most of their time in classrooms. Our eight HVAC labs are filled with an extremely wide variety of units; old to new, varying brands and residential to light-commercial units. Students work at heating and air conditioning units and use tools every day. Sure there will be lecture and class instructions, but almost all of it is followed by practical examples and hands on practice.

What are The Class Sizes?

The campus and the course is designed to teach a small teacher to student ratio. Class sizes are not allowed to exceed thirty students to one instructor (30:1) in classroom settings and twenty students to one instructor (20:1) in lab settings. However, to ensure each student receives the assistance and training needed to succeed, Retail Ready Career Center will always keep a ration of forty students to two instructors (40:2) in a classroom setting.

What Can I Expect to Learn?

The HVAC Maintenance Ready program is a comprehensive course designed to teach students the skills and techniques required for entry-level employment into the residential and light commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) field. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to perform an AC and furnace clean & checks, receive EPA and NATE certifications, perform a simple diagnostic test, customer service and “soft skills”, and will have the ability to work on residential and light commercial units. Graduates may find suitable entry-level employment with air conditioning companies, building maintenance departments, high-rise building engineering departments or other employment where HVAC skills are required. Graduates will learn with class lecture and discussion, but mostly with hands-on experience in lab environments. They will also be exposed to a variety of actual equipment and mock up situations designed to prepare them for fieldwork.

What Certifications will I Earn During the Program?

All of our students graduate having earned their IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Certification and their Universal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Certification. On top of IAQ and EPA, students have the opportunity to take all of the NATE exams. The program cost covers 1 attempt each at NATE Core, NATE Gas Heat, and NATE Heat Pump and AC. However, if the student wishes to take further NATE Exams including Oil Heating, Gas Hydronic, Oil Hydronic, Air Distribution, and Commercial Refrigeration, we do have a certified NATE proctor on site and you may pay for each as you wish to take them.

How Much Do HVAC Technicians Get Paid?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average (mean) pay is $20.98 per hour (or $43,640 per year). The BLS states that the top 10% make $33.10 per hour (or $68,840 per year). There are lots of variances in pay for A/C technicians. It depends on many factors and most of them are based on your knowledge, understanding, and experience.

If you hire on at a residential service company that runs mostly service your value will be directly tied to completed service calls and quality of work. Obviously, when you first start out you will have a lot to learn about how that particular company operates and you will need to gain experience. However, with the right training and understanding of the fundamentals you will set yourself up for the best paying positions available. Keep in mind this is a constantly changing field, so the more you learn the more you are worth. Parts changers who never really got the basics top out quickly and have lots of callbacks. There are many sites quoting pay but always visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the most up to date and accurate information.

Is HVAC Work Only About Hot Attics?

No, HVAC service companies typically service residential, commercial or both. Units are generally found in either the attic, basement, garage or on the roof. Unit placement depends on the design of the home and its geographical location. For example, many homes in the north and Midwest have basements, and it is not unusual for a furnace or air conditioning unit to be found in the basement. However, each home is different so we prepare our students for anything. Nearly all business units will be found on the rooftop. We combat this challenge with training on our live rooftop lab of light-commercial units, which consists of several popular brands and styles. As an HVAC technician, you should be prepared to work in dark and/or cramped spaces, and in all types of weather.

Copyright 2016 Retail Ready. All Rights Reserved