How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Antioch California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Antioch CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Antioch CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few 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 proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Antioch CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular 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 exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Antioch CA, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many 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 may be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Antioch CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Antioch and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Antioch CA area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Antioch CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Antioch CA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Antioch CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools 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, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Antioch CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Antioch CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers 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 schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Antioch CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Antioch California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Antioch (formerly, East Antioch, Smith's Landing, and Marshs Landing) is the second largest city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. Located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area along the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, it is a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland. The city's population was 102,372 at the 2010 census and estimated to be 110,542 in 2015.
Antioch is one of the oldest towns in California. In 1848, John Marsh, owner of Rancho Los Meganos, one of the largest ranches in California, built a landing on the San Joaquin River in what is now Antioch. It became known as Marsh's Landing, and was the shipping point for the 17,000-acre rancho. It included a pier extending well out into the river, enabling vessels drawing 15 feet of water to tie up there at any season of the year. The landing also included a slaughterhouse, smokehouse for curing hams, rodeo grounds, and even a 1½-story dwelling, embellished with fretwork, that was brought around the Horn to serve as a home for the mayordomo (manager) and his wife.
In 1850, two brothers, William and Joseph Smith, founded a town slightly west of Marsh's Landing, and named it Smith's Landing. In 1851, the town's new minister persuaded the residents to change the name of the town to Antioch, for the biblical city of Antioch.
Heating and Cooling Trade Schools Antioch CA
Finding the right HVAC school program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Cooling Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines 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 Antioch CA.
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