How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling College near Fullerton California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Fullerton CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the best one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Fullerton CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant 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. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Fullerton CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two 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 for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Fullerton CA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Fullerton CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Fullerton and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Fullerton CA area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Fullerton CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers 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 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fullerton CA HVAC employers to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Fullerton CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Fullerton CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fullerton CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fullerton CA, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Fullerton CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Fullerton California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Historically it was a center of agriculture, notably groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops; petroleum extraction; transportation; and manufacturing. It is home to numerous higher educational institutions, particularly California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College. From the mid-1940s through the late 1990s, Fullerton was home to a large industrial base made up of aerospace contractors, canneries, paper products manufacturers, and is considered to be the birthplace of the electric guitar, due in a large part to Leo Fender. The headquarters of Vons, which is owned by Albertsons, is located in Fullerton near the Fullerton-Anaheim line.
Evidence of prehistoric animal habitation, such as saber-toothed cats and mammoths, is present in Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the northwest of the city.Europeans first passed through the area in 1769 when Gaspar de Portolà led a Spanish expedition north to Monterey. From the description recorded in the diary of Father Juan Crespi, it seems likely that the party camped on July 29 near present-day Laguna Lake, in the Sunny Hills area.
After establishment of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in 1771, the local Tongva people were dubbed "Gabrieliños" by the Spanish. In 1837, the Fullerton area became part of Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, a Spanish soldier.
Air Conditioning Trade School Fullerton CA
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioning Trade School. However, as we have covered in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art 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 current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Fullerton CA.
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