How to Select the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Livingston California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Livingston CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection 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 details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Livingston CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some courses 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 might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Livingston CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees feature 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Livingston CA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Livingston CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Livingston and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Livingston CA area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Livingston CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Livingston CA HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Livingston CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Livingston CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Livingston CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience 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 fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Livingston CA, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Livingston CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Livingston California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Livingston is a city in California. Livingston is located 7 miles (11 km) west-northwest of Atwater, at an elevation of 131 feet (40 m). According to the 2010 census, the city population was 13,058, up from 10,473 at the 2000 census. Livingston's total area is 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), including undeveloped farmland annexed in anticipation of future growth.
Livingston is located at 37°23′13″N 120°43′25″W / 37.38694°N 120.72361°W / 37.38694; -120.72361. It lies slightly uphill from where the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses the Merced River. Highway 99 follows the Southern Pacific through the city.
The Livingston post office opened in 1873, closed in 1882, and re-opened in 1883. The town was named for Dr. David Livingstone, a British explorer of Africa who was an international celebrity in the late 1800s. An error on the town’s Post Office application resulted in the difference in spelling between his name and the town’s.
HVAC Schools Near Me Livingston CA
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools Near Me. However, as we have discussed in this article, you should choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Livingston CA.
More Hot and Cool Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 242