How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Ben Lomond California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Ben Lomond CA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Ben Lomond CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Ben Lomond CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Ben Lomond CA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number 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 can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Ben Lomond CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Ben Lomond and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Ben Lomond CA area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Ben Lomond CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ben Lomond CA HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical 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 contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Ben Lomond CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ben Lomond CA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Ben Lomond CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Ben Lomond CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Ben Lomond CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Ben Lomond California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Ben Lomond, California
The mountain was named by John Burns, a Scot who settled on the west side of the ridge in 1851. Burns named the mountain after one in Scotland. Ben Lomond means "beacon peak" in Brittonic. Burns became one of the first vintners in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and is usually also credited with naming the community of Bonny Doon. The San Lorenzo River watershed contains extensive forests of Coast redwood, and was an early center of the logging/lumber industry in Santa Cruz County. The community was originally known as Pacific Mills, after a sawmill operation located there. When, in 1887, the community applied for a U.S. Post Office, residents voted to adopt the name of the mountain.
Ben Lomond is located on State Highway 9, about 12 miles from Santa Cruz, California and 34 miles from San Jose, California (the nearest major city) at 37°5′24″N 122°5′24″W / 37.09000°N 122.09000°W / 37.09000; -122.09000 (37.09, -122.09). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.4 square miles (22 km2). The San Lorenzo River runs through it, in what is known locally as the San Lorenzo Valley, which runs SE/NW to the east of Ben Lomond Mountain (really a long ridge whose highest point has an elevation of 810m/2660 ft).
The National Weather Service has kept weather records for Ben Lomond since 1937. The Western Climate Center reports that Ben Lomond has an average annual rainfall of 49.00 inches and an average annual snowfall of 0.2 inch. January is the coldest month with a normal maximum of 61.5 °F (16.4 °C) and a normal minimum of 36.9 °F (2.7 °C). August is the warmest month with a normal maximum of 85.5 °F (29.7 °C) and a normal minimum of 50.4 °F (10.2 °C).
Air Conditioner Technician School Ben Lomond CA
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner Technician School. However, as we have covered in this post, you should pick an HVAC trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 Ben Lomond CA.
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