How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Highland California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Highland CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Highland CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business 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 typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Highland CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Highland CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid 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 a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Highland CA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain 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 to attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Highland CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Highland and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments 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 hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Highland CA
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Highland CA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Highland CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering 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 suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher 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 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Highland CA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Highland CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Highland CA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Highland CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Highland CA, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Highland CA?
Highland is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. The population in 2010 (US Census) was 53,104, up from 44,605 at the 2000 census. The term Highland also refers to a geographical area of the city of San Bernardino (generally east of Del Rosa Avenue to the eastern city limits), and parts of unincorporated San Bernardino County. Highland is generally divided into two regions, East Highland and Highland (Generally considered west of the 210, with the majority of inhabitants living east of the freeway.)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.9 square miles (48.9 km²). 18.8 square miles (48.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.71%) is water.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Highland had a population of 53,104. The population density was 2,811.3 people per square mile (1,085.4/km²). The racial makeup of Highland was 27,836 (52.4%) White (30.8% Non-Hispanic White), 5,887 (11.1%) African American, 542 (1.0%) Native American, 3,954 (7.4%) Asian, 168 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 11,826 (22.3%) from other races, and 2,891 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25,556 persons (48.1%).
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Highland CA
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Highland CA.
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