How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Lebec California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Lebec CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation 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 in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Lebec CA HVAC techs to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, 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 desire to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially 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 extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Lebec CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lebec CA, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Lebec CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Lebec and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Lebec CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lebec CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lebec CA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Lebec CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Lebec CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lebec CA home. Remember 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 instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lebec CA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Lebec CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lebec California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lebec is named in honor of Peter Lebeck or Lebecque, a French trapper killed by a grizzly bear in 1837 in the area that later became Fort Tejon. He was memorialized in an epitaph at the site, found carved in a bare spot on an old oak tree. The epitaph read PETER LEBECK / KILLED BY A X BEAR / OCTR 17 / 1837. The bark of the oak tree eventually grew over the carving. A group from Bakersfield, called the Foxtail Rangers, removed the bark in the late 19th century and found the inscription in reverse on its underside. The piece is now displayed in the museum at Fort Tejon State Historic Park.
Lieutenant R.S. Williamson camped at the same oak grove in 1853 while on a mid-1850s mapping mission for a practicable railway route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Geologist William P. Blake accompanied Williamson's party. The area was garrisoned by the United States Army a year later, on August 10, 1854, as Fort Tejon, the first military fort in the California interior. The fort suffered extensive damage during the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake.
The Lebec Hotel was a large Spanish Colonial Revival-style hotel located on the Ridge Route in the community. It was built in 1921, and was popular with Hollywood executives and movie stars before World War II. It closed in 1968, and was demolished in 1971.
How to Choose HVAC Certificate Programs Lebec CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How to Choose HVAC Certificate Programs. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. 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 tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right 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 right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Lebec CA.
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