How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certificate Program near Hanford California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Hanford CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Hanford CA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected 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 competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Hanford CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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 study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Hanford CA, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical 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 may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for some Hanford CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Hanford and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs 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 online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Hanford CA area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Hanford CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Hanford CA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Hanford CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local 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, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Hanford CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Hanford CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges 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 some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanford CA, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Hanford CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Hanford California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Hanford is an important commercial and cultural center in the south central San Joaquin Valley and is the county seat of Kings County, California. It is the principal city of the Hanford-Corcoran metropolitan area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County, including the cities of Hanford and Corcoran. The ZIP Code is 93230 (93232 for post office boxes). The city of Hanford is surrounded by communities that do not fall within the city limits but use the same zip code. These communities include Grangeville, Hardwick and Home Garden.
Hanford is located at 36°19′39″N 119°38′44″W / 36.32750°N 119.64556°W / 36.32750; -119.64556 (36.3275, −119.6457). It is situated in the south central portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles (45 km) south-southeast of the city of Fresno and 18 miles (29 km) west of the city of Visalia. The city is 249 feet (76 m) above sea level and has a flat terrain. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), none of which is covered by water. The only natural watercourse is Mussel Slough, remnants of which still exist on the city's western edge. The Kings River is about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of Hanford. The People's Ditch, an irrigation canal dug in the 1870s, traverses Hanford from north to south.
Hanford has a climate typical of that of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense Tule fog. The wetter season occurs from November through March. The average annual rainfall over the ten years from 1997/98 through 2006/07 was 8.97 inches (228 mm). The 30-year normal precipitation (1971–2000) is 8.29 inches (211 mm).
Accredited HVAC Schools Hanford CA
Selecting the right HVAC school program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Accredited HVAC Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to select an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid 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 appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Hanford CA.
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