How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Granada Hills California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Granada Hills CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of 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 prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Granada Hills CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 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 related to the position. The degree programs may 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 Granada Hills CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Granada Hills CA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in attaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Granada Hills CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Granada Hills and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Granada Hills CA area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Granada Hills CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Granada Hills CA HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Granada Hills CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. 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 Granada Hills CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Granada Hills CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Granada Hills CA, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, 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 Granada Hills CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Granada Hills California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Granada Hills, Los Angeles
The community began as dairy farm and orchard known as the Sunshine Ranch which grew apricots, oranges, walnuts and beans. Vestiges of former citrus groves can still be seen in orange, lemon or grapefruit trees in many residential yards. In 1916, the San Fernando Valley's first oil well was drilled in what is now Granada Hills. The oil well was located at the northern tip of Zelzah Avenue. Granada Hills was founded in 1926 as "Granada;" the "Hills" portion of the name was added 15 years later.
Granada Hills is located at the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains, north of North Hills, Northridge, west of Mission Hills and Sylmar, and east of the Porter Ranch neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Ronald Reagan Freeway–Route 118 runs through its southern area.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 50,535 residents in the 15.11-square neighborhood—or 3,344 people per square mile. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 53,998. In 2000 the median age for residents was 37,
HVAC Training Course Granada Hills CA
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Training Course. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are sufficient 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 talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Granada Hills CA.
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