How to Enroll In the Right HVAC Certification Class near Agoura Hills California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Agoura Hills CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other details 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. These and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Agoura Hills CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory 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 area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Agoura Hills CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred 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 understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, a number of degrees feature 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 four 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 ideal credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Agoura Hills CA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Agoura Hills CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Agoura Hills and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Agoura Hills CA area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Agoura Hills CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Agoura Hills CA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Agoura Hills CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools 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 tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Agoura Hills CA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Agoura Hills CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Agoura Hills CA, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Agoura Hills CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Agoura Hills California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills (/əˈɡɒrə/ (listen)) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its population was estimated to be at 20,843 in 2014, up from 20,537 at the 2000 census. It is in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. The city is on the border between the county of Los Angeles to the east and south, and Ventura County to the north and west. It is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and less than 10 miles (16 km) west of the Los Angeles city limits (Woodland Hills). Agoura Hills and unincorporated Agoura sit next to Calabasas, Oak Park, and Westlake Village.
The area was first settled by the Chumash Native Americans around 10,000 years ago. As the Alta California (Upper California) coast was settled by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century, the El Camino Real (the Royal Road or King's Highway), a road from Loreto, Baja California, Mexico to Sonoma, California, and connecting the Spanish missions in California, was established through the heart of what would later be known as Agoura Hills.
In about 1800, Miguel Ortega was granted a Spanish grazing concession called Rancho Las Virgenes or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes. The grant was abandoned after Ortega's death in 1810, and José Maria Dominguez was given Rancho Las Virgenes as a Mexican land grant in 1834. Maria Antonia Machado de Reyes purchased the rancho from Dominguez in 1845. (The "Reyes Adobe" ranch headquarters sits today in central Agoura Hills, where it is part of the Reyes Adobe Museum built around 2004 and owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.)
Industrial HVAC Training Agoura Hills CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Industrial HVAC Training. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper 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 technician in Agoura Hills CA.
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