How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Bellflower California
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Bellflower CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Bellflower CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Bellflower CA HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several options 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 minimum period of time, usually completed 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 related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Bellflower CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, some degrees feature 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 four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Bellflower CA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Bellflower CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Bellflower and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Bellflower CA
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Bellflower CA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Bellflower CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain 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 guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order 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 program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Bellflower CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Bellflower CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Bellflower CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bellflower CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bellflower CA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Bellflower CA?
Bellflower is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It was founded in 1906 and incorporated on September 3, 1957. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 76,616, up from 72,878 at the 2000 census. As of the 2010 census, Bellflower is the 25th most densely populated city in the United States, of cities over 50,000 residents (and 8th most densely populated in California).
The city was founded by F.E. Woodruff in 1906 and originally named Somerset in 1909 when the post office was established. However, the Post Office Department rejected the name to prevent confusion with Somerset, Colorado. The present name is derived from the bellflower apple, which was grown in local orchards during the early 1900s.
Originally settled by small communities of dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, Bellflower and neighboring Paramount served first as the apple and later the milk production centers for Southern California, until soaring post-World War II property values and threatened annexations by Los Angeles led by real-estate syndicates, forced most of the farmers to move several miles east to the Dairy Valley/Dairyland/Dairy City area (now the cities of Cerritos, La Palma, and Cypress). These farms were in turn divided up into large housing divisions for Los Angeles's growing White American population which worked in the region's high-tech, skilled industrial, and service positions. From the 1950s through the late 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip for shopping. Numerous retail and franchise restaurant firms began on this street, which also featured middle- and high-end boutiques, arts and crafts shops, and other small shopkeeps alongside larger department stores and banks. It is sister cities with Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Bellflower CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak 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, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 Bellflower CA.
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