How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Lake Elsinore California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Lake Elsinore CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Lake Elsinore CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Lake Elsinore CA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify 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 deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Lake Elsinore CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Lake Elsinore CA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more practical solution for many Lake Elsinore CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Lake Elsinore and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Lake Elsinore CA
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Lake Elsinore CA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Lake Elsinore CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, 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 example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lake Elsinore CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Lake Elsinore CA HVAC contractors. 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 local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lake Elsinore CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lake Elsinore CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Elsinore CA, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Lake Elsinore CA?
Lake Elsinore, California
Lake Elsinore is a city in western Riverside County, California, United States. Established as a city in 1888, it is on the shore of Lake Elsinore, a natural freshwater lake about 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) in size. The city has grown from a small resort town in the late 19th century and early 20th century to a population of 51,821 at the 2010 census.
Native Americans have long lived in the Elsinore Valley. The Luiseño people were the earliest known inhabitants. Their pictographs can be found on rocks on the Santa Ana Mountains and in Temescal Valley, and artifacts have been found all around Lake Elsinore and in the local canyons and hills.
Overlooked by the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza, the largest natural lake in Southern California was first seen by the Spanish Franciscan padre Juan Santiago, exploring eastward from the Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1797. In 1810, the water level of the Laguna Grande was first described by a traveler as being little more than a swamp about a mile long. Later in the early 19th century, the lake grew larger, providing a spot to camp and water their animals for Mexican rancheros, American trappers, the expedition of John C. Frémont, and the immigrants during the California Gold Rush as they traveled along the southern shore of the lake on what later became the Southern Emigrant Trail and the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Lake Elsinore CA
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Lake Elsinore CA.
More Fabulous Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 1900