How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Course near Livermore California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Livermore CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant 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. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Livermore CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some 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 competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish 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 choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Livermore CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, a number of 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Livermore CA, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete 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 balance of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Livermore CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Livermore and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online schools 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 more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Livermore CA area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Livermore CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require 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 complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Livermore CA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Livermore CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Livermore CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Livermore CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Livermore CA, check that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Livermore CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Livermore California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Livermore (formerly Livermores, Livermore Ranch, and Nottingham) is a city in Alameda County, California, in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 89,648, Livermore is the most populous city in the Tri-Valley. Livermore is located on the eastern edge of California's San Francisco Bay Area. The incumbent Mayor of Livermore is John Marchand.
Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall and named for Robert Livermore, his friend and a local rancher who settled in the area in the 1840s. Livermore is the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for which the chemical element livermorium is named (and thus, placing the city's name in the periodic table). Livermore is also the California site of Sandia National Laboratories, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Its south side is home to local vineyards. The city has redeveloped its downtown district and is considered part of the Tri-Valley area, comprising Amador, Livermore and San Ramon valleys.
Before its incorporation in 1796 under the Franciscan Mission San Jose, located in what is now the southern part of Fremont, the Livermore area was home to some of the Ohlone (or Costanoan) native people. Each mission had two to three friars and a contingent of up to five soldiers to help keep order in the mission and to help control the natives. Like most indigenous people in California, the natives in the vicinity of Mission San Jose were mostly coerced into joining it, where they were taught Spanish, the Catholic religion, singing, construction, agricultural trades and herding—the Native Californian people originally had no agriculture and no domestic animals except dogs. Other tribes were coerced into other adjacent missions. The Mission Indians were restricted to the mission grounds where they lived in sexually segregated "barracks" that they built themselves with padre instruction. The population of all California missions plunged steeply as new diseases ravaged the Mission Indian populations—they had almost no immunity to these "new to them" diseases, and death rates over 50% were not uncommon.
Online HVAC Training Livermore CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC Training. However, as we have covered in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not 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 appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Livermore CA.
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