How to Select the Right HVAC College near Imperial California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Imperial CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Imperial CA HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Imperial 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Imperial CA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Imperial CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Imperial and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Imperial CA area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Imperial CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Imperial CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Imperial CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Imperial CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Imperial CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Imperial CA, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Imperial CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Imperial California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Imperial County, California
Imperial County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 174,528. The county seat is El Centro. Established in 1907, it was the last county to be formed in California.
Imperial County includes the El Centro, California Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is also part of the Southern California border region, the smallest but most economically diverse region in the state. It is located in the Imperial Valley, in the far southeast of California, bordering both Arizona and Mexico.
Although this region is a desert, with high temperatures and low average rainfall of three inches (75 mm) per year, the economy is heavily based on agriculture due to irrigation, supplied wholly from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal.
Heating and Ventilation Courses Imperial CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Heating and Ventilation Courses. However, as we have covered in this post, you should choose an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should go to 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 training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance 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 narrow down 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 Imperial CA.
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