How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Fortuna California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Fortuna CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Fortuna CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade 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 professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Fortuna CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here 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 proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Fortuna CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include 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 traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Fortuna 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 Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Fortuna CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Fortuna 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 commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Fortuna CA
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Fortuna CA area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Fortuna CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Fortuna CA HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training 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 Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Fortuna CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fortuna CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fortuna CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get 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 large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fortuna CA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Fortuna CA?
Fortuna (formerly, Slide, Springville) (Wiyot: Vutsuwitk Da'l, "ashes stay") is a city on the northeast shore of the Eel River (approximately 9 miles (14 km) from where it enters the Pacific Ocean), and is on U.S. Route 101 in west-central Humboldt County, California, United States. The population was 11,926 at the 2010 census, up from 10,497 at the 2000 census.
The settlement was originally called "Slide," for Slide Hill, in 1874, named for the slide that was a fixture on the northeast side of the Eel River and the southwest portion of Christian Ridge just to the northwest, near the edge of town. In 1875, the name was changed to Springville during the construction of the Springville Mill, a lumber mill for the nearby redwood forests, named so because of the numerous springs in the area. The mill's owners were Henry Rohner (namesake of neighboring Rohnerville), Alexander Masson, M. N. Weber and G. F. Gushaw. Springville was originally a company town belonging to the mill, and the few people that resided there all worked at the mill. By the late 1870s Springville had grown enough to warrant a post office, but a town called Springville, California (now part of Camarillo, in Ventura County) already existed in the state. The post office was named Slide on May 24, 1876. In 1884 the residents petitioned the state legislature for the name Fortuna, Spanish for "fortune" and Latin for "chance," and by July 3, 1888 the name was changed to Fortuna. The name was chosen when settlers saw the proximity of the forests, the river and its valley, and the Pacific Ocean, as ideal for enjoying a good quality of life, and felt "fortunate" to live there. It is believed that a local minister and real estate agent, desiring to sell lots to newcomers, devised the name as a marketing tool.
Electricity came to Fortuna in 1883 when W. J. Swortzel and George W. Williams (of Swortzel & Williams), owners of the Springville Mill Company, built a $4,000 power plant. Some of the local sawmills were already powered by electricity, and by providing power to the mills, Swortzel and Williams saw the opportunity to also provide inexpensive electric lighting to the townspeople.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Fortuna CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of 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 talk 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 options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Fortuna CA.
More Fabulous Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 14