How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Certification Course near El Monte California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near El Monte CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for El Monte CA HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are a few 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 exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with 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.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near El Monte CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, 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 conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in El Monte CA, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one option to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many 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 can be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many El Monte CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from El Monte and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the El Monte CA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the El Monte CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of El Monte CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local El Monte CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local El Monte CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your El Monte CA residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Monte CA, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near El Monte CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the El Monte California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
El Monte, California
El Monte /ɛl ˈmɒntiː/ is a residential, industrial, and commercial city in Los Angeles County, California, the United States. The city lies in the San Gabriel Valley east of the city of Los Angeles.
El Monte's slogan is "Welcome to Friendly El Monte" and historically is known as "The End of the Santa Fe Trail." As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 113,475, down from 115,965 at the 2000 census. As of 2010, El Monte was the 51st largest city in California.
El Monte is situated between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers; residents claimed that anything could be grown in the area. Between 1770 and 1830, Spanish soldiers and missionaries often stopped here for respite. They called the area 'El Monte,' which in Spanish means 'the mountain' or 'the mount'. Most people assume the name refers to a mountain, but there were no mountains in the valley. The word is an archaic Spanish translation of that era, meaning "the wood". The first explorers had found this a rich, low-altitude land, blanketed with thick growths of wispy willows, alders, and cattails, located between the two rivers. Wild grapevines and watercress also abounded. El Monte is approximately 7 miles long and 4 miles wide. When the State Legislature organized California into more manageable designated townships in the 1850s, they called it the El Monte Township. In a short time the name returned to the original El Monte.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Courses El Monte CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available 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 checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in El Monte CA.
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