How to Select an HVAC School near Lebec California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Lebec CA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near 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 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Lebec CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Lebec CA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination 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 professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required 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 offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Lebec CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Lebec CA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Lebec CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Lebec and study supplies can be minimized, 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 little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Lebec CA
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Lebec CA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Lebec CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program 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 finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lebec CA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Lebec CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lebec CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lebec CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to 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 hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lebec CA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Lebec CA?
Lebec is named in honor of Peter Lebeck or Lebecque, a French trapper killed by a grizzly bear in 1837 in the area that later became Fort Tejon. He was memorialized in an epitaph at the site, found carved in a bare spot on an old oak tree. The epitaph read PETER LEBECK / KILLED BY A X BEAR / OCTR 17 / 1837. The bark of the oak tree eventually grew over the carving. A group from Bakersfield, called the Foxtail Rangers, removed the bark in the late 19th century and found the inscription in reverse on its underside. The piece is now displayed in the museum at Fort Tejon State Historic Park.
Lieutenant R.S. Williamson camped at the same oak grove in 1853 while on a mid-1850s mapping mission for a practicable railway route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Geologist William P. Blake accompanied Williamson's party. The area was garrisoned by the United States Army a year later, on August 10, 1854, as Fort Tejon, the first military fort in the California interior. The fort suffered extensive damage during the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake.
The Lebec Hotel was a large Spanish Colonial Revival-style hotel located on the Ridge Route in the community. It was built in 1921, and was popular with Hollywood executives and movie stars before World War II. It closed in 1968, and was demolished in 1971.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Lebec CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to 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. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening 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 proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Lebec CA.
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