How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near Downey California
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Downey CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Downey CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses 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 programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Downey CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Downey CA, subsequently 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 Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Downey CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Downey and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Downey CA area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Downey CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some 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 might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Downey CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught together 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 companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Downey CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Downey CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Downey CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Downey CA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Downey CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Downey California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Downey is a city located in southeast Los Angeles County, California, United States, 13 mi (21 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is considered part of the Gateway Cities. The city is the birthplace of the Apollo space program. It is also the home of the oldest still operational McDonald's restaurant in the world. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 111,779.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in Alta California, the area that is now Downey was inhabited by the Tongva ethnic group, which came to be called the Gabrielino by the Spanish. The nearest Tongva settlements appear to have been just north and northeast of present-day Downey, although there is difficulty in locating them precisely. The villages of Naxaaw’nga and Sehat seem to have been situated near the present-day community of Los Nietos, or perhaps farther west on sites that were lost to floods of the San Gabriel River. Chokiishnga and Huutnga are other Tongva place names that may have referred to villages in the general area north of Downey between the San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo. In all four cases, it is difficult to relate the original location descriptions, based on ranchos and land grants, to more specific sites identifiable by today's landmarks.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was initially founded on September 8, 1771, near these concentrations of Tongva population, at a site in the Whittier Narrows on a bluff overlooking the Rio Hondo near the intersection of today's San Gabriel Blvd and Lincoln Avenue. After five years, flooding forced the relocation of the mission to its present site in San Gabriel.
Online HVAC School Downey CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing 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 Downey CA.
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