How to Choose HVAC Certification Classes Lathrop CA

How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Lathrop California

air conditioner condensers in Lathrop CANow that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Lathrop CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just 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. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.

How to Become an HVAC Pro

Lathrop CA HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Lathrop CA HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.

  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
  • EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.

Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs

radiator heater in Lathrop CA homeThere are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Lathrop CA.

  • Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even 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 learn how to design them.

Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Lathrop CA, subsequently going back to earn 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 Schools

Lathrop CA student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Lathrop CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Lathrop and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations 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 busy schedule.

What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools

Questions to ask Lathrop CA HVAC training schoolsOnce you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Lathrop CA area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Lathrop CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Lathrop CA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.

Apprenticeship Programs.  A large number of HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Lathrop CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lathrop CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lathrop CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Flexible Scheduling.  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lathrop CA, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Considering an HVAC School near Lathrop CA?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lathrop California area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Lathrop, California

Lathrop is a city located in San Joaquin County, California, United States. The 2010 United States Census reported Lathrop’s population was 18,023. The city is located in Northern California at the intersection of Interstate 5 and SR 120.

Lathrop was platted when the railroad was extended to that point.[10] A post office has been in operation at Lathrop since 1871.[11] The city was named for the maiden name of the wife of Leland Stanford.[10] In September 1869, four months after the railheads of the transcontinental railroad met at Promontory, Utah, the completion of the San Joaquin River Bridge at Mossdale crossing at Lathrop actually completed the west coast link.

On August 14, 1889 Chief Justice of California David S. Terry assaulted United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field, at the train station in Lathrop. Field's bodyguard United States Marshal David Neagle (formerly assigned to Tombstone, Arizona) shot and killed Terry. The events led the United States Supreme Court decision In re Neagle.

How to Choose HVAC Certification Classes Lathrop CA

Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Certification Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, you need to pick an HVAC trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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 Lathrop CA.

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