How to Select the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Edwards California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Edwards CA. But with so many to choose 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 solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
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 central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Edwards CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, although 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 can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Edwards CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Edwards CA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Edwards CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Edwards and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Edwards CA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Edwards CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important 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 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Edwards CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Edwards CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Edwards CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Edwards CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out 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 are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Edwards CA, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Edwards CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Edwards California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EDW, ICAO: KEDW, FAA LID: EDW) is a United States Air Force installation located in Kern County in southern California, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Lancaster and 15 miles (24 km) east of Rosamond.
It is the home of the Air Force Test Center, Air Force Test Pilot School, and NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center. It is the Air Force Materiel Command center for conducting and supporting research and development of flight, as well as testing and evaluating aerospace systems from concept to combat. It also hosts many test activities conducted by America's commercial aerospace industry.
Previously known as Muroc Air Force Base, Edwards AFB is named in honor of Captain Glen Edwards (1918–1948). During World War II, he flew A-20 Havoc light attack bombers in the North African campaign on 50 hazardous, low-level missions against German tanks, convoys, troops, bridges, airfields, and other tactical targets. Edwards became a test pilot in 1943 and spent much of his time at Muroc Army Air Field, on California's high desert, testing wide varieties of experimental prototype aircraft. He died in the crash of a Northrop YB-49 flying wing near Muroc AFB on 5 June 1948.
HVAC Technical School Edwards CA
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technical School. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Edwards CA.
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