How to Enroll In an HVAC Training Course near Bakersfield California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Bakersfield CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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. Those and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Bakersfield CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Bakersfield CA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Bakersfield CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among 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 background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as 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 getting some experience in the field in Bakersfield CA, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Bakersfield CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Bakersfield and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses near Bakersfield CA
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Bakersfield CA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Bakersfield CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Bakersfield CA HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Bakersfield CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Bakersfield CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Bakersfield CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Bakersfield CA?
Bakersfield is a city in the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 365,000, making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of approximately 464,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Bakersfield CA
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Bakersfield CA.
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