How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near La Puente California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near La Puente CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in La Puente CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for La Puente CA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near La Puente CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and financial resources 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 trade in La Puente CA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some La Puente CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from La Puente and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses near La Puente CA
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the La Puente CA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the La Puente CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of La Puente CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools 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 referring partnerships with local La Puente CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local La Puente CA HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your La Puente CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near La Puente CA, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near La Puente CA?
La Puente, California
The original inhabitants of the area now occupied by the city of La Puente were the Kizh. They lived in a village called Awingna, which linguists translate as "abiding place." The Awingna chief Matheo (who also held sway over several other nearby villages) was baptized at Mission San Gabriel in 1774.
In 1769, the Spanish Portolá expedition became the first Europeans to see inland portions of Alta California. On July 30, the party camped on the east side of the San Gabriel River, in today's unincorporated area of Bassett. Father Juan Crespi wrote in his diary that, the next day, they had to build a bridge (Spanish "puente") to cross the miry San Gabriel River.
With the establishment of Mission San Gabriel, the area encompassing Awingna and what is now the city of La Puente became part of Rancho La Puente, established as a mission outpost and ranch. The rancho was visited by the Jedediah Smith party in November 1826, the first Americans to travel overland to California.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near La Puente CA
Choosing the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in La Puente CA.
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