How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Bell Gardens California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Bell Gardens CA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Bell Gardens CA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Bell Gardens CA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional 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 imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Bell Gardens CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Bell Gardens CA, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Bell Gardens CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Bell Gardens and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Bell Gardens CA
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Bell Gardens CA area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Bell Gardens CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Bell Gardens CA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Bell Gardens CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bell Gardens CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bell Gardens CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers 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 reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Bell Gardens CA?
Bell Gardens, California
Bell Gardens is notable for being one of only six Los Angeles County cities (out of 88 total) to permit casino gambling (the others being Inglewood, Gardena, Commerce, Compton, and Hawaiian Gardens). Dice games and slot machines are forbidden by state law.
The city of Bell Gardens has a Native American history dating back thousands of years. In the late 18th century, when the area was associated with a large amount of land situated along the lower basin of the Rio Hondo area in Los Angeles County, Bell Gardens was once a bustling agricultural center for Californios during the Spanish Empire, 1509–1823, the Mexican government, 1823–1848, and the United States, after the Mexican-American war concluded in 1848.
Among those early Spanish settlers was one of California’s first families, the Lugos. While stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, Francisco Lugo’s son Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1783. In 1810 Antonio Lugo, a 35-year-old corporal in the Spanish army, was given the 29,514-acre (119.44 km2) Rancho San Antonio land grant. The land grant was a reward for his military service during the establishment of the Franciscan Missions in California while being the attendant of colonization for the area. Today the grant includes the cities of Bell Gardens, Bell, Maywood, Vernon, Huntington Park, Walnut Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Lynwood and Commerce.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Bell Gardens CA
Selecting the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should visit 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. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available 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 proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Bell Gardens CA.
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