How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Elk Grove California
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Elk Grove CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss 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 Pro in Elk Grove CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Elk Grove CA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along 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 required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Elk Grove CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Elk Grove CA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Elk Grove CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Elk Grove and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Elk Grove CA
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Elk Grove CA area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Elk Grove CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 Elk Grove CA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many 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 within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Elk Grove CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Elk Grove CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Elk Grove CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction 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 observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Elk Grove CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Elk Grove CA?
Elk Grove, California
Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the population of the city was estimated at 167,965. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005.
Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga entered the region in 1808, naming the valley "Sacramento Valley" in honor of Sacramento, the Holy Sacrament in Spanish, giving the northerly city of Sacramento of which Elk Grove is a suburb its name. A writer on Moraga's expedition wrote of the region: "Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current. Birds chattered in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths. The air was like champagne, and (the Spaniards) drank deep of it, drank in the beauty around them."
Elk Grove was founded in 1850 as a stage stop for travelers coming from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, when the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop was opened by James Hall and the town was subsequently named after it. In 1868 the Western Division of the Central Pacific Railroad came through about a mile east of Elk Grove. At this new location another hotel was built to accommodate travelers and was also named the Elk Grove Hotel.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Elk Grove CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this post, you should select a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Elk Grove CA.
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