How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Lakeside California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Lakeside CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Lakeside CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Lakeside 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 job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lakeside CA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Lakeside CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Lakeside and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Lakeside CA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Lakeside CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering 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 indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lakeside CA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Lakeside CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lakeside CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lakeside CA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lakeside CA, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find 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 Lakeside CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lakeside California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lakeside was founded in 1886 when 6,600 acres of land surrounding the naturally occurring Lindo Lake were purchased by the El Cajon Valley Land Company, who immediately began to promote the new land as a town and built an 80-room Victorian-style inn, the Lakeside Hotel, at a cost of $50,000 (approximately $1,220,000 today). Three years later, in 1889, Lakeside became connected to the railroad system, and small businesses began to spring up, firmly establishing Lakeside as a bustling community. In 1904, John H. Gay bought the Lakeside Hotel and fenced off the park surrounding Lindo Lake, claiming both as part of his estate. He then proceeded to construct an automobile and horse racetrack around the lake, which became famous when Barney Oldfield set a new land speed record when visiting for the track's opening in 1907. The inn and racetrack became a popular gathering place for millionaires and celebrities and consistently drew large crowds by train to watch the races held there, but both were demolished per Gay's wishes at his death in 1920.
Lakeside has long held a reputation as a "cowboy town" and "rodeo town," due to the rural setting, the prevalence of ranches and the abundant horse ownership in the area, as well as hosting an 8-acre (32,000 m2) permanent rodeo facility, the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. The venue is manned and maintained by the El Capitan Stadium Association, an all-volunteer group who aims to assist and support the youth of Lakeside by donating all proceeds from facility rentals to local sports and service, as well as education grants. Notable rodeos include the PRCA-sanctioned Lakeside Rodeo, part of their California circuit and usually occurring on the last weekend in April, regularly drawing over 20,000 observers to the arena, as well as the Lakeside Optimists' Bulls Only Rodeo in July.
Many social and service groups are very active in Lakeside including VFW, Elks, Optimist, Soroptimist, 4-H, FFA, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, youth soccer, baseball and football leagues, and the Cactus Park BMX track. The U.S. Navy maintains two large housing sites for military dependents in the town.
How to Choose HVAC Certification Training Lakeside CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Certification Training. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Lakeside CA.
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