How to Select the Right HVAC Degree Program near Lemon Grove California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next action is to look for an HVAC technical school near Lemon Grove CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Lemon Grove CA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Lemon Grove CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and cooling 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 for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught 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 goals are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Lemon Grove CA, subsequently returning to earn 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 Courses
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Lemon Grove CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Lemon Grove and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Lemon Grove CA area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Lemon Grove CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring 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 for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative 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 employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Lemon Grove CA HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Lemon Grove 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 sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lemon Grove CA HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lemon Grove CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lemon Grove CA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Lemon Grove CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Lemon Grove California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Lemon Grove, California
The area that eventually became Lemon Grove was part of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, one of the Spanish missions in California. After Mexico became independent from Spain, the Californios (residents of Alta California) ranched on various land grants. The area that now includes Lemon Grove was granted to Santiago Argüello, who received more than 59,000 acres.
The first proprietor of Lemon Grove, Robert Allison, arrived in the region in 1850, coming from Sacramento. He purchased thousands of acres from Santiago Argüello's heirs; this land eventually became Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Encanto, and part of Spring Valley. Allison became a director and stockholder of the San Diego and Cuyamaca Railroad in 1886, and built the Allison Flume. Allison's son Joseph filed subdivision maps for "Lemon Grove" in 1892. The name is attributed to Joseph's mother, Tempa Waterman Allison. The climate was suitable for the cultivation of subtropical fruits and vegetables, and farmers from the East and Midwest flocked to the region. The Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1893; in 1894, the San Diego Union newspaper referred to Lemon Grove as "a sea of lemon trees."
Joseph and Anton Sonka, immigrants from Bohemia, moved to Lemon Grove after stints in Seguin, Texas, and San Diego. The brothers opened a well-known general store, A. Sonka and Son. Anthony "Tony" F. Sonka, the eldest son of Anton Sonka and his German American wife Anna Klein Sonka, was also a local notable. He was a key supporter of the huge lemon that became the town's symbol and landmark. Sonka and a committee of local ranchers hired local architect Alberto Treganza to build the huge lemon to "make the ultimate statement about the town's purpose, prosperity, and optimism."
HVAC Schools Lemon Grove CA
Picking the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right 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 proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Lemon Grove CA.
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