How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling College near Fremont California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Fremont CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to look into 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Fremont CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination 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 professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with 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 available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Fremont CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling 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, as well as 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 getting some experience in the field in Fremont CA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Fremont CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Fremont and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Fremont CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fremont CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program 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 obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Fremont CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Fremont CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fremont CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fremont CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fremont CA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Fremont CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fremont California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fremont (/ˈfriːmɒnt/ FREE-mont) is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the annexing of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San José, and Warm Springs. The city is named after John C. Frémont, an American explorer and former US Senator from California, Governor from Arizona, Major General in the Union Army, and the first Republican presidential candidate, in 1856.
Located in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area and straddling both the East Bay and South Bay regions, Fremont has a rapidly-growing population of around 230,000. It is one of the largest cities by land area and the fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area, behind San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. It directly borders and is the closest East Bay city to Silicon Valley as formally defined, and is thus often associated with it. The city has an extensive and rapidly expanding base of both tech industry and workers.
The area consisting of Fremont and the cities of Newark and Union City (formed from the annex of Alvarado and Decoto) is known collectively as the Tri-City Area; different from the adjacent Tri-Valley area encompassing Pleasanton, Dublin, and Livermore.
Heating and Air Classes Fremont CA
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Air Classes. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Fremont CA.
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