How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Class near Los Altos California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Los Altos CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within 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 professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals 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, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Los Altos CA HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training 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 amount of time, usually completed 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 appropriate 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 brief explanation of each credential offered near Los Altos CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong 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. Normally taking two years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Los Altos CA, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Los Altos 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 Los Altos and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous 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, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Los Altos CA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Los Altos CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 HVAC schools you are looking at 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 might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also 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 can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Los Altos CA HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Los Altos CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Los Altos CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Los Altos CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Los Altos CA, verify that the programs 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. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Los Altos CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Los Altos California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Los Altos, California
Los Altos (/lɔːs ˈæltoʊs/ (listen)) is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
Most of the city's growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent commuter town in Silicon Valley. Los Altos has commercial zones, strictly limited to the downtown area, as well as small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
Homes and other real estate are costly in Los Altos. The median household income of Los Altos for 2006–2010 was $149,964. The average home listing price in 2014 was $1.96 million. In 2017, Forbes put Los Altos (94022 and 94024) as the 3rd and 48th most expensive ZIP codes in the United States with median home prices of $7,755,000 and $3,431,615, respectively. In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Los Altos was the fifth wealthiest city in the United States.
How Long Is HVAC School Los Altos CA
Choosing the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding How Long Is HVAC School. However, as we have addressed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Los Altos CA.
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