How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling Training Program near Lincoln California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Lincoln CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Lincoln CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected 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 achieved by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of alternatives offered 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 least period of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Lincoln CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as 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 air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Lincoln CA, subsequently going back to obtain 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
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Lincoln CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Lincoln and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Lincoln CA area and across the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 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. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Lincoln CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors 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 broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lincoln CA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lincoln CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Lincoln CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lincoln CA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lincoln CA, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Lincoln CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lincoln California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lincoln is a city in Placer County, California, United States, part of the Sacramento metropolitan area. Located in an area of rapid suburban development, it grew 282.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city over 10,000 people in the U.S. Its 2015 population was estimated to be 45,837.
The original townsite was surveyed and laid out in 1859 by Theodore Judah along the proposed line of the California Central Railroad. The name "Lincoln" was conferred in honor of Charles Lincoln Wilson, one of the organizers and directors of the California Central Railroad. The CCRR was planned as a rail link between the cities of Marysville and Sacramento via a connection to the Sacramento Valley Railroad in Folsom. Grading from Folsom to Marysville commenced in 1858 and was completed to Griders by 1860. Track laying began that same year and the rails reached the site of Lincoln in early 1861. At this point, due to a lack of funds, further construction on the California Central was temporarily halted and Lincoln experienced a small-scale boom as the northern terminus of this new road. Within a few years, however, more investors were found and the line was extended to Wheatland, in Yuba County, bringing an end to this early stage of Lincoln's development.
When most of its population and business moved on with the railroad, the town settled into a lull until the early 1870s, when rich clay deposits of the Ione Formation were discovered nearby. This led to the establishment of Gladding, McBean & Co., the pottery for which Lincoln is famous, ushering in a new era of prosperity and growth.
HVAC Trade School Lincoln CA
Choosing the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Trade School. However, as we have covered in this article, you should choose an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lincoln CA.
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