How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Program near Kentfield California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Kentfield CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Kentfield CA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few 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 examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various 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.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Kentfield CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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 based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Kentfield CA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Kentfield CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Kentfield and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, 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 trade schools in the Kentfield CA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Kentfield CA area have attained 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 an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kentfield CA HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training 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 contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Kentfield CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Kentfield CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Kentfield CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kentfield CA, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Kentfield CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Kentfield California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Kentfield (formerly Ross Landing, Tamalpais, and Kent) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, California, United States, just north of San Francisco. Kentfield is located on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet (35 m). The population was 6,485 at the 2010 census. The ZIP codes are 94904 for street addresses, and 94914 for PO boxes, and are shared with the neighboring community of Greenbrae.
In 1857, James Ross (1812–1862) bought Rancho Punta de Quentin. Ross, a Scot who had arrived in San Francisco from Australia in 1848 and made his fortune in the wholesale liquor business, set up a trading post called "Ross Landing". Steamers would come up Corte Madera Creek to the landing there. Albert Emmett Kent bought the land from the Ross estate in 1871. Kent built an estate called Tamalpais, later applied to the settlement by the railroad. Albert Emmett Kent's son, William Kent, was a US Congressman, philanthropist and founder of Muir Woods.
The National Weather Service reports that Kentfield's warmest months is July, with an average high of 82.7 °F (28.2 °C) and an average low of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C). December is the coolest months with an average high of 54.8 °F (12.7 °C) and an average low of 41.3 °F (5.2 °C). The highest temperature on record was 112 °F (44 °C) on July 11, 1913. The lowest temperature recorded was 17 °F (−8 °C) on December 31, 1915. Annually, there are an average of 19.6 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 1.3 days with highs of 100 °F (38 °C) or more. Freezing temperatures (32 °F (0 °C) or below) occur an average of 3.8 days each year.
HVAC Course Cost Kentfield CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Course Cost. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available 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 evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 Kentfield CA.
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