How to Select the Right HVAC Certification Course near Los Gatos California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Los Gatos CA. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary way for Los Gatos CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important 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 may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Los Gatos CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, some 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives 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 getting some experience in the trade in Los Gatos CA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Los Gatos CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Los Gatos and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Courses
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Los Gatos CA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Los Gatos CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified 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 list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Los Gatos CA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught together 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 HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Los Gatos 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 form relationships in the local 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 working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Los Gatos CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Los Gatos CA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Los Gatos CA, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, 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 Los Gatos CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Los Gatos California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Los Gatos, California
Los Gatos (US: /loʊs ˈɡɑːtoʊs, lɔːs-/; Spanish for "The Cats") is an incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population is 30,391 according to the 2013 United States Census Bureau. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Gatos is ranked the 33rd wealthiest city in the United States. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Los Gatos is part of Silicon Valley, with several high technology companies maintaining a presence there. Most notably, streaming and content creator Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos and has developed a large presence in the area.
Los Gatos is Spanish for "The Cats". The name derives from the 1839 Alta California land-grant that encompassed the area, which was called La Rinconada de Los Gatos, ("Cat's Corner"), where "the cats" refers to the cougars and bobcats that are indigenous to the foothills in which the town is located. The name has been anglicized to /lɔːs ˈɡætəs/ lawss-GAT-əs, although one also hears pronunciations truer to the original Spanish, /loʊsˈɡɑːtoʊs/ lohss-GAH-tohss.
The town's founding dates to the mid-1850s with the building of a flour-milling operation, Forbes Mill, by James Alexander Forbes along Los Gatos Creek. The mill's two-story stone storage annex has been preserved as a museum just off of Main Street.
HVAC Online Courses Los Gatos CA
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Online Courses. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should 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, inquire 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 appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Los Gatos CA.
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