How to Pick an HVAC School near Beaumont California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Beaumont CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Beaumont CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in 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, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Beaumont CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Beaumont CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Beaumont CA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Beaumont CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Beaumont and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Beaumont CA
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Beaumont CA area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Beaumont CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Beaumont CA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Beaumont CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Beaumont CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Beaumont CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Beaumont CA, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Beaumont CA?
Beaumont is a city in Riverside County, California, United States located at a half mile elevation in the pass area south of Southern California's highest peak, San Gorgonio Mountain, and north of San Jacinto Peak.
Beaumont is bordered on the east by the city of Banning, on the south by the city of San Jacinto, on the west by the city of Calimesa, and on the north by the unincorporated community of Cherry Valley.
During the early 1850s, many surveying parties passed through the vicinity of present-day Beaumont in search of a pass that would connect the east to the Pacific Ocean. The San Gorgonio Pass was discovered in 1853 by a surveying expedition under Lieutenant R.S. Williamson, who was sent by the United States government. Its discovery enthralled many who now saw that connecting to the ocean was a feasible measure and led to plans for connecting a railway from the Missouri River to the Pacific. By the early 1860s, the Southern Pacific Railroad had laid tracks through the modern-day location of Beaumont. At the summit of the pass, a site was founded and named Edgar Station after a physician from one of the original expedition parties. Edgar Station served as a rest stop for railway travelers from the Mojave Desert on their way to the Los Angeles vicinity. Soon Edgar Station changed its name to San Gorgonio, named by a real estate development company, and it gradually attracted permanent residents.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Beaumont CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Beaumont CA.
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