How to Pick the Right HVAC Certification Class near Greenbrae California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Greenbrae CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot 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 way for Greenbrae CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam 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 together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives 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 amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Greenbrae CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Greenbrae CA, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Greenbrae CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Greenbrae and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Greenbrae CA area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Greenbrae CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program 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 might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Greenbrae CA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Greenbrae CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Greenbrae CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Greenbrae CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Greenbrae CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Greenbrae CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Greenbrae California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Greenbrae is a small unincorporated community in Marin County, California. It is located 1.5 miles (2 km) south-southeast of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 33 feet (10 m), located adjacent to U.S. Route 101 at the opening of the Ross Valley. Part of Greenbrae is an unincorporated community of the county while the remaining area is inside the city limits of Larkspur. The ZIP code is 94904, and is shared with the neighboring Census-designated place (CDP) of Kentfield. The community is in area codes 415 and 628.
Predominantly composed of hillside and waterfront terrain, its homes and offices are known for their views of the San Francisco Bay, Corte Madera Creek, and Mount Tamalpais. "Brae" means a steep bank or hillside in dialects of Scotland and Northern Ireland; Greenbrae translates to "green hillside." The developer of Greenbrae, Niels Schultz, Jr., died in early 2008. Greenbrae's neighborhoods are bordered by downtown Larkspur to the south, Larkspur Landing to the east, the unincorporated area of Kentfield to the west, and the city of San Rafael to the north. Straddling Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, its most frequented points of interest include Marin General Hospital and Bon Air Shopping Center.
Greenbrae was home to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for over 30 years, until 2006. Pediatrician William Silverman, who influenced the development of the neonatal intensive care unit, died there in 2004. Writer Jack Finney died in Greenbrae shortly after completing his last novel, as did Les Crane. Radio host Michael Krasny is a long term resident. American poet FrancEyE died in Greenbrae on June 2, 2009. Additionally, the runner-up of the second season of the cooking competition show Masterchef Junior Samuel Stromberg also lives in Greenbrae.
Air Conditioning and Heating School Greenbrae CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Heating School. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should select an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Greenbrae CA.
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