How to Pick the Right HVAC School near Acton California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Acton CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Acton CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Acton CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 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 right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Acton CA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure 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 approach to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in online, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Acton CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Acton and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Acton CA area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Acton CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Acton CA HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Acton CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Acton CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Acton CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Acton CA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Acton CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Acton California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Acton is a small residential community located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. It is off the Antelope Valley Freeway (Highway 14) near Palmdale. Acton is roughly 20 miles (32 km) northeast of the San Fernando Valley and 47 miles (76 km) north of downtown Los Angeles. The town has a rural western theme which can be seen in its homes, commercial buildings, and historical buildings (some of which date back to the late 1800s). The homes in the mountains around Acton have great views of the valley below. In the valley are ranch style homes, often with equestrian facilities. While Acton is not a part of the Antelope Valley, it is grouped together with the "AV" in the General Plan. Acton has a Metrolink commuter rail station on its border with Palmdale that is themed in an "old western" style and has been seen in various movies and commercials.
Acton was founded in 1887 by gold miners who were working in the Red Rover Mine. It was named after Acton, Massachusetts by one of the miners. Two of the best-known gold mines located in Acton were the Red Rover mine and the Governor mine. Mining of gold, copper, and titanium ore continued into the early 1900s. The town originally had served as a railroad camp from 1873 to 1876 when the Saugus-Mojave section of the Southern Pacific Railroad was under construction.
Acton was once considered for the State capital of California. California Governor Henry T. Gage (1899–1903) owned the Governor Mine, hence the name, and sought to relocate the capital to Acton. This effort ultimately failed and the capital was not moved from Sacramento. In the late 1880s, Acton started to become more of a ranching and farming community. In 1889, Acton's first hotel and its first saloon, the 49er was opened, and it is still open for business today.
Air Conditioning Training School Acton CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Training School. However, as we have covered in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist 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 eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Acton CA.
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