How to Pick the Right HVAC Program near Kenwood California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Kenwood CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Kenwood CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Kenwood CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial 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 knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Kenwood CA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach in 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. Many 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 participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Kenwood CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Kenwood and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected 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 certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Kenwood CA area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Kenwood CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify 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 employ 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kenwood CA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Kenwood CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Kenwood CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Kenwood CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kenwood CA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 Kenwood CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Kenwood California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Kenwood, California is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States, located on Sonoma Highway (State Route 12) between the cities of Santa Rosa and Sonoma. It lies east of Sonoma Creek in the upper part of Sonoma Valley, a region sometimes called the Valley of the Moon. Bennett Mountain lies west of the town, and Sugarloaf Ridge to the northeast. The population was 1,028 at the 2010 census.
Like all of Sonoma County, Kenwood is considered part of the Wine Country. Viticulturally, it lies in the Sonoma Valley AVA. The Kenwood area is known for vineyards and wineries, restaurants, and a European-style resort. An area landmark is the Kunde Estate Winery on Sonoma Highway, which was first planted in 1879.
Kenwood Plaza Park, located two blocks south of State Route 12 at 200 Warm Springs Road and Shaw Park, which is located at 100 Shaw Ave also off State Route 12. Both are managed by the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department.
School for Air Conditioning Kenwood CA
Finding the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding School for Air Conditioning. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Kenwood CA.
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