How to Pick the Right HVAC Training Class near Lakewood California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Lakewood CA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Lakewood CA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Lakewood CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning 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 delivers a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Lakewood CA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Lakewood CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Lakewood and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Lakewood CA area and all over the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Lakewood CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain 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 often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Lakewood CA HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs 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 partnerships with local Lakewood CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lakewood CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Lakewood CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakewood CA, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Lakewood CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lakewood California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.
Lakewood is a post-World War II planned community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools Lakewood CA
Selecting the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to pick an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of 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 inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Lakewood CA.
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