How to Pick the Right HVAC School near Huntington Beach California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Huntington Beach CA. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some 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. Those and other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently 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 commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Huntington Beach CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. 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 field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Huntington Beach CA.
- Certificate. Usually 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 job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared 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 learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Huntington Beach CA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Huntington Beach CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Huntington Beach and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Huntington Beach CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Huntington Beach CA area have earned 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, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest 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 similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Huntington Beach CA HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs 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 comparing have referring partnerships with local Huntington Beach CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Huntington Beach CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Huntington Beach CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntington Beach CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Huntington Beach CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Huntington Beach California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. The population was 189,992 during the 2010 census, making it the most populous beach city in Orange County and the seventh most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,809. It is bordered by Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Westminster on the north, by Fountain Valley on the northeast, by Costa Mesa on the east, and by Newport Beach on the southeast.
Huntington Beach (locally initialized "HB") is known for its long 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Santa Catalina Island. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach, creating consistent surf all year long, hence the nickname "Surf City".
The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.
Degree Heating and Air Huntington Beach CA
Picking the right HVAC school 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 Degree Heating and Air. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to pick an Heating and Cooling trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Huntington Beach CA.
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