How to Choose an HVAC School near Felton California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Felton CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things 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 in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Felton CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Felton CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized 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. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick 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 select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of alternatives available 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 least period of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Felton CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 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 appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Felton CA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer 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 alternative may be a more practical solution for some Felton CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Felton and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Felton CA
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Felton CA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Felton CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Felton CA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Felton CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Felton CA HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Felton CA home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Felton CA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Felton CA?
Felton is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The population was 4,057 as of 2010 census and according to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), all of it land.
Named for John B. Felton, a former Oakland, California mayor, a judge and a San Francisco Bay Area investor in his day, the town is a historic logging community. Felton served as the lower terminus of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume from Boulder Creek, which began construction in 1874 and when formally opened in October 1875 was augmented by a new rail line to transport logs to the wharf in Santa Cruz.
Shortly after the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad began operation, a second rail line began operation in 1880 from Alameda, California and San Jose, California. A new depot was constructed at "New Felton" using salvaged materials from a dismantled portion of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume from Boulder Creek. The railroads, limekilns and forest in this area provided a majority of the repair materials for the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The standard gauge railroad line came into Felton by 1909.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Felton CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Felton CA.
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