How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Program near Fontana California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Fontana CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to look into 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Fontana CA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following 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 competency examination 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 must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Fontana CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background 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 tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Fontana CA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Fontana CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Fontana and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fontana CA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Fontana CA area have received 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 relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can 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 field, but also that it has the network of Fontana CA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Fontana CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Fontana CA HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fontana CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fontana CA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Fontana CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fontana California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fontana (/fɒnˈtænə/) is a city in San Bernardino County, California. Founded by Azariel Blanchard Miller in 1913, it remained essentially rural until World War II, when entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser built a large steel mill in the area. It is now a regional hub of the trucking industry, with Interstate 10 and State Route 210 transecting the city from east to west, and Interstate 15 passing diagonally through its northwestern quadrant.
It is home to the largest of the San Bernardino County system libraries, a renovated historic theater, a municipal park, and the Auto Club Speedway on the site of the Kaiser Steel Mill. Fontana also hosts the Fontana Days Half Marathon and 5K run. This race is the fastest half-marathon course in the world.
The United States Census Bureau estimated Fontana's 2017 population at 211,815, making it the second-most populous city in San Bernardino County and the 19th largest in the state. The name fontana is Italian for fountain or water source, being in close proximity to the Santa Ana River to the east.
Air Conditioning School Online Fontana CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning School Online. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Fontana CA.
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