How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Glendale California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near Glendale CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Glendale CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Glendale CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some 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 examination 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with 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 essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Glendale CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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 being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Glendale CA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Glendale CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Glendale and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Glendale CA
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Glendale CA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Glendale CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Glendale CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Glendale CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Glendale CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Glendale CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Glendale CA, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Glendale CA?
Glendale /ˈɡlɛndeɪl/ is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,167, making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 23rd-largest city in California. It is located about 8 miles (13 km) north of downtown Los Angeles.
Glendale lies in the southeastern end of the San Fernando Valley, bisected by the Verdugo Mountains, and is a suburb in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The city is bordered to the northwest by the Sun Valley and Tujunga neighborhoods of Los Angeles; to the northeast by La Cañada Flintridge and the unincorporated area of La Crescenta; to the west by Burbank and Griffith Park; to the east by Eagle Rock and Pasadena; to the south by the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles; and to the southeast by Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Golden State, Ventura, Glendale, and Foothill freeways run through the city.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery contains the remains of many noted celebrities and local residents. Grand Central Airport was the departure point for the first commercial west-to-east transcontinental flight flown by Charles Lindbergh.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Glendale CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you should select a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are sufficient practical 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 talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Glendale CA.
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