How to Find the Right HVAC Training Program near Aliso Viejo California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Aliso Viejo CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you need? Many future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Aliso Viejo CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained 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 professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in as little as six months, though some programs 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 can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Aliso Viejo CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Aliso Viejo CA, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Aliso Viejo CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Aliso Viejo and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Aliso Viejo CA area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Aliso Viejo CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher 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 will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Aliso Viejo CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Aliso Viejo CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Aliso Viejo CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Aliso Viejo CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor 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 several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise 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 meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Aliso Viejo CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Aliso Viejo California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Aliso Viejo, California
Aliso Viejo is a city in the San Joaquin Hills of southern Orange County, California. It had a population of 47,823 as of the 2010 census, up from 40,166 as of the 2000 census. It became Orange County's 34th city on July 1, 2001, the only city in Orange County to be incorporated since 2000. It is bordered by the cities of Laguna Beach on the west and southwest, Laguna Hills on the east, Laguna Niguel on the southeast, and Laguna Woods on the north.
The planned community of Aliso Viejo's original 6,600 acres were once part of the 26,000-acre Moulton Ranch, owned by the Moulton family, who took title in the 1890s to land originally granted to Juan Avila by the Mexican government in 1842. Over the years, portions of the ranch were sold and became Leisure World, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel. In 1976, the Mission Viejo Company purchased the remaining 6,600 acres to create a new planned community – Aliso Viejo – with a master plan for 20,000 homes for a planned population of 50,000. The master plan was approved by the Orange County in 1979, and homes were first offered for sale in March 1982. Aliso Viejo's first family moved in that November. As part of the project, 2,600 acres were dedicated to Orange County as part of the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and 800 acres were set aside for local parks, recreation, schools and community facilities. The Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) was set up to manage the local parks and community open space. It was the first community-wide association of its kind in California and has the unique ability to provide a full-range of community services and facilities.
Aliso Viejo was the first planned community in California to plan a balance between the projected resident work force and the number of projected jobs within its borders. Pacific Park, the centrally located 900-acre business park and town center, was expected to ultimately provide more than 22,000 jobs. Every home in Aliso Viejo was located about 1 1/2 miles from Pacific Park, to encourage live-and-work opportunities.
HVAC Technical Schools Aliso Viejo CA
Picking the ideal HVAC school course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Technical Schools. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an HVAC training program and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Aliso Viejo CA.
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