How to Pick an HVAC Training Course near Huntington Beach California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Huntington Beach CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Huntington Beach CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Huntington Beach CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in just 6 months, though some courses 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 training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Huntington Beach CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, many 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 conventional 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.
Choosing 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 approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Huntington Beach CA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. 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 as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Huntington Beach CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Huntington Beach and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Huntington Beach CA
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Huntington Beach CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Huntington Beach CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 graduates, which can 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Huntington Beach CA HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Huntington Beach CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Huntington Beach CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Huntington Beach CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntington Beach CA, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Huntington Beach CA?
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. The population was 189,992 during the 2010 census, making it the most populous beach city in Orange County and the seventh most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,809. It is bordered by Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Westminster on the north, by Fountain Valley on the northeast, by Costa Mesa on the east, and by Newport Beach on the southeast.
Huntington Beach (locally initialized "HB") is known for its long 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Santa Catalina Island. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach, creating consistent surf all year long, hence the nickname "Surf City".
The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Huntington Beach CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to select a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. 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 informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Huntington Beach CA.
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