How to Choose the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Garden Grove California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Garden Grove CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Garden Grove CA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Below are a few 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 exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often achieved in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Garden Grove 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 delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for 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.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives 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 trade in Garden Grove CA, later going back to acquire 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 Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Garden Grove CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Garden Grove and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Garden Grove CA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Garden Grove CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers 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 broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Garden Grove CA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction 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 HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Garden Grove CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Garden Grove CA HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Garden Grove CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Garden Grove CA, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Garden Grove CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Garden Grove California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Garden Grove, California
Garden Grove is a city in northern Orange County, California, United States, located 34 miles (55 km) southeast of the city of Los Angeles in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The population was 170,883 at the 2010 United States Census. State Route 22, also known as the Garden Grove Freeway, passes through the city in an east-west direction. The western portion of the city is known as West Garden Grove.
Garden Grove was founded by Alonzo Cook in 1874. A school district and Methodist church were organized that year. It remained a small rural crossroads until the arrival of the railroad in 1905. The rail connection helped the town prosper with crops of orange, walnuts, chili peppers and later strawberries.
In 1933, much of the town's central business district was destroyed by the Long Beach earthquake, and one person was killed at the high school. The post-World War II boom led to rapid development, and Garden Grove was incorporated as a city in 1956 with about 44,000 residents.
Heating and Cooling Trade Schools Garden Grove CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Cooling Trade Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options 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 Garden Grove CA.
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