How to Choose an HVAC School near Lancaster California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Lancaster 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 entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Lancaster CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Lancaster CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Lancaster CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning 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 future career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lancaster CA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Lancaster CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lancaster and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Lancaster CA
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, 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 Lancaster CA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Lancaster CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lancaster CA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lancaster CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lancaster CA HVAC contracting 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 Lancaster CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lancaster CA, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Lancaster CA?
Lancaster /ˈlæn.kæstər/ is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California. As of 2013, Lancaster was the 31st largest city in California. Lancaster is part of a twin city complex with its southern neighbor Palmdale and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region.
Lancaster is located approximately 61 miles (98 km) north (by highway) of downtown Los Angeles, near the Kern County line. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north. The population of Lancaster grew from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 156,000 in 2010. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2015, Lancaster has a population of 168,049.
The area where Lancaster is now located, known as the Antelope Valley, was originally home to the Paiute Indians. Lancaster's origins as a settlement start with the Southern Pacific Railroad, which is believed to first use the name Lancaster, where a station house, locomotive watering facilities and section gang housing were built when the railroad laid track through the town's future location. In 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the line through the Antelope Valley, linking San Francisco and Los Angeles. The origin of Lancaster's name is unclear, attributed variously to the surname of a railroad station clerk, the moniker given by railroad officials, or the former Pennsylvania home (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) of unknown settlers. Train service brought passengers through the water-stop-turned-community, which, with the help of promotional literature, attracted new settlers. The person credited with formally developing the town is Moses Langley Wicks, who in 1884 bought property from the railroad for $2.50 per acre, mapped out a town with streets and lots, and by September was advertising 160-acre tracts of land for $6 an acre. The following year, the Lancaster News started publication, making it the first weekly newspaper in the Antelope Valley. By 1890, Lancaster was bustling and booming, and thanks to adequate rainfall, farmers planted and sold thousands of acres of wheat and barley.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Lancaster CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art 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 faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Lancaster CA.
More Fabulous Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 680