How to Choose the Right Heating and Cooling Training Class near El Segundo California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near El Segundo CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other details 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for El Segundo CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged 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 achieved by passing a competency exam and may be acquired 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 exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near El Segundo CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in El Segundo CA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some El Segundo CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from El Segundo and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the El Segundo CA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the El Segundo CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of El Segundo CA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local El Segundo CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local El Segundo CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your El Segundo CA home. 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 important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Segundo CA, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near El Segundo CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the El Segundo California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
El Segundo, California
El Segundo is a city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. El Segundo, from Spanish, means "The Second" in English. Located on the Santa Monica Bay, it was incorporated on January 18, 1917, and part of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments. The population was 16,654 at the 2010 census, slightly up from 16,033 at the 2000 census.
The El Segundo and Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) Native American tribes thousands of years ago. The area was once a part of Rancho Sausal Redondo ("Round Willow Patch Ranch"). Rancho Sausal Redondo extended from Playa Del Rey in the North to Redondo Beach in the South. Originally a Mexican land grant owned by Antonio Ygnacio Avila, the rancho was later purchased by a Scottish baronet named Sir Robert Burnett. After his return to Scotland, the property was purchased by then current manager of the rancho, Daniel Freeman. Daniel Freeman sold portions of the rancho to several persons. George H. Peck owned the 840 acres (3.4 km2) of land the Chevron Refinery now sits on. Peck also developed land in neighboring El Porto where a street still bears his name. The city earned its name ("the second" in Spanish) as it was the site of the second Standard Oil refinery on the West Coast (the first was at Richmond in Northern California), when Standard Oil of California purchased the 840 acres (3.4 km2) of farm land in 1911.
The Douglas Aircraft Company plant in El Segundo was one of the major aircraft manufacturing facilities in California during World War II. It was one of the major producers of SBD Dauntless dive bombers, which achieved fame in the Battle of Midway. The facility, now operated by Northrop Grumman, is still an aircraft plant.
Air Conditioning Repair School El Segundo CA
Finding the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Repair School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should pick an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to 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. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in El Segundo CA.
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