How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling College near Helendale California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Helendale CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Helendale CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can 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 must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Helendale CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Helendale CA, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Helendale CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Helendale and study supplies may 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 work or family obligations have left you with limited 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 Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Helendale CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Helendale CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Helendale CA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Helendale CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Helendale CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Helendale CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Helendale CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Helendale CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Helendale California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
It is on historic Route 66, west of the Mojave Freeway (I-15), between Barstow and Victorville. The name Helendale is used by the USPS, while Silver Lakes is used by the US Census. The 2010 United States census reported Silver Lakes's population was 5,623.
Several Native American tribes lived in the area, namely the Mojave and Serrano. It is believed that the first White man to travel through was the Franciscan priest Francisco Garcés in 1776. He was exploring a route to the missions on the Coast following the Mojave River.
The original name for Helendale was Point of Rocks. There were several early trails and roadways through this area of the Mojave Desert, including the Mojave Trail, which was used by the Indians and Father Garcés, the Spanish Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Mormon Trail, et cetera.
Air Conditioner and Heating School Helendale CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner and Heating School. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to 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 training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Helendale CA.
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