How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Class near Agoura Hills California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Agoura Hills CA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Agoura Hills CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Agoura Hills CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Agoura Hills CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Agoura Hills CA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Agoura Hills CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Agoura Hills and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Agoura Hills CA
Once you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Agoura Hills CA area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Agoura Hills CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm 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. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Agoura Hills CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Agoura Hills CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Agoura Hills CA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Agoura Hills CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Agoura Hills CA, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Agoura Hills CA?
Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills (/ˈə.ɡɒr.əˌhɪlz/ ( listen)) is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Its population was estimated to be at 20,843 in 2014, up from 20,537 at the 2000 census. It is in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. The city is on the border between the county of Los Angeles to the east and south, and Ventura County to the north and west. It is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and less than 10 miles (16 km) west of the Los Angeles city limits (Woodland Hills). Agoura Hills and unincorporated Agoura sit next to Calabasas, Oak Park, and Westlake Village.
The area was first settled by the Chumash Native Americans around 10,000 years ago. As the Alta California (Upper California) coast was settled by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century, the El Camino Real (the Royal Road or King's Highway), a road from Loreto, Baja California, Mexico to Sonoma, California, and connecting the Spanish missions in California, was established through the heart of what would later be known as Agoura Hills.
In about 1800, Miguel Ortega was granted a Spanish grazing concession called Rancho Las Virgenes or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes. The grant was abandoned after Ortega's death in 1810, and José Maria Dominguez was given Rancho Las Virgenes as a Mexican land grant in 1834. Maria Antonia Machado de Reyes purchased the rancho from Dominguez in 1845. (The "Reyes Adobe" ranch headquarters sits today in central Agoura Hills, where it is part of the Reyes Adobe Museum built around 2004 and owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.)
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Agoura Hills CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered 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 narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Agoura Hills CA.
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