How to Pick the Right HVAC College near Fresno California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Fresno CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate 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 discuss how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs 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, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Fresno CA HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important 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 program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Fresno CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, many 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Fresno CA, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also sponsor 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 alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Fresno CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Fresno and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs 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 fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Fresno CA area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Fresno CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fresno CA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Fresno CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fresno CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Fresno CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fresno CA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Fresno CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fresno California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fresno (/ˈfrɛznoʊ/ FREZ-noh; Spanish for "ash tree") is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.
Named for the abundant ash trees lining the San Joaquin River, Fresno was founded in 1872 as a railway station of the Central Pacific Railroad before it was incorporated in 1885. The city has since become an economic hub of Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley, with much of the surrounding areas in the Metropolitan Fresno region predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.
The population of Fresno grew from a 1960 census population of 134,000 to a 2000 census population of 428,000. With a census-estimated 2017 population of 527,438, Fresno is the fifth-most populous city in California, the most populous city in the Central Valley, the most populous inland city in California, and the 34th-most populous city in the nation.
Schools That Offer HVAC Training Fresno CA
Finding the right HVAC school program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Schools That Offer HVAC Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should select an HVAC vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Fresno CA.
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