How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Certificate Program near Marina California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Marina CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Marina CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Marina CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, some 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 as well as 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 cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Marina CA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Marina CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Marina and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Marina CA area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Marina CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Marina CA HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Marina CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Marina CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Marina CA residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor 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 some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees 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 can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marina 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 allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Marina CA?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Marina California area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Marina is a city in Monterey County, California, United States. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2013 population at 20,370. Marina is located along the central coast of California, 8 miles (13 km) west of Salinas, and 8 miles north of Monterey. Marina is also connected to Monterey, California by California State Route 1, which also connects it with Santa Cruz, California, after driving for about 35 miles. Marina is at an elevation of 43 feet (13 m). Marina was incorporated in 1975 and is the newest city on the Monterey Peninsula. The city includes part of the California State University, Monterey Bay campus, UC Santa Cruz UC MBEST center, and the Veterans Transition Center (VTC). In 2012, Marina was named one of the 100 Best Community for Young People by America's Promise Alliance. The Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital, built in 1941 to provide healthcare for U.S. Army horses and mules, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. This is the first such official recognition on old Fort Ord.
William Locke-Paddon founded the town on 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of land he bought for the purpose. The Marina post office opened in 1916. Marina incorporated in 1975. The City's history is intertwined with that of Fort Ord. Fort Ord lands were used as an infantry training center since the Mexican–American War. Major growth took place in 1938 with the first joint Army and Navy maneuvers held in 1940.
Fort Ord was selected in 1991 for decommissioning and the post formally closed after troop reassignment in 1994. In July 1994 the first academic year of California State University, Monterey Bay opened, and barracks were soon transformed into dorms.
Online HVAC Degree Marina CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Online HVAC Degree. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not 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 appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options 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 Marina CA.
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