How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling School near Bellflower California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Bellflower CA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Bellflower CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Bellflower CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four 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 dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Bellflower CA, eventually returning 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 Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Bellflower CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Bellflower and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
After you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Bellflower CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Bellflower CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 graduates, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Bellflower CA HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Bellflower CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bellflower CA HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Bellflower CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bellflower CA, check that the schools you are reviewing 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 policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Bellflower CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Bellflower California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Bellflower is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It was founded in 1906 and became incorporated on September 3, 1957. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 76,616, up from 72,878 at the 2000 census. As of the 2010 census, Bellflower is the 25th most densely populated city in the United States, of cities over 50,000 residents (and 8th most densely populated in California).
The city was founded by F.E. Woodruff in 1906 and originally named Somerset in 1909 when the post office was established. However, the Post Office Department rejected the name to prevent confusion with Somerset, Colorado. The present name is derived from the bellflower apple, which was grown in local orchards during the early 1900s.
Originally settled by small communities of dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, Bellflower and neighboring Paramount served first as the apple and later the milk production centers for Southern California, until soaring post-World War II property values and threatened annexations by Los Angeles led by real-estate syndicates, forced most of the farmers to move several miles east to the Dairy Valley/Dairyland/Dairy City area (now the cities of Cerritos, La Palma, and Cypress). These farms were in turn divided up into large housing divisions for Los Angeles's growing White American population which worked in the region's high-tech, skilled industrial, and service positions. From the 1950s through the late 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip for shopping. Numerous retail and franchise restaurant firms began on this street, which also featured middle- and high-end boutiques, arts and crafts shops, and other small shopkeeps alongside larger department stores and banks. It is sister cities with Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Online Classes for HVAC Bellflower CA
Choosing the right HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online Classes for HVAC. However, as we have covered in this post, you should pick an HVAC vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night 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 proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Bellflower CA.
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