How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Apple Valley California
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Apple Valley CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Apple Valley CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Apple Valley CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired 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 need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Apple Valley CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Apple Valley CA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Apple Valley CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Apple Valley and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Apple Valley CA
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Apple Valley CA area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Apple Valley CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Apple Valley CA HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Apple Valley CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Apple Valley CA HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Apple Valley CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Apple Valley CA?
Apple Valley, California
The Town of Apple Valley is located in the Victor Valley of San Bernardino County, in the U.S. state of California. It was incorporated on November 14, 1988, and is one of the twenty-two incorporated municipalities in California that uses "town" in its name instead of "city." The town is east of and adjoining to the neighboring cities of Victorville and Hesperia, 37 miles (60 km) south of Barstow and 46 miles (74 km) north of San Bernardino through the Cajon Pass. The population was 69,135 at the 2010 census.
Apple Valley was home to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, whose museum was first established in Apple Valley (in 1967) before the museum was relocated to Victorville in 1976. Since 2003, the museum has been in Branson, Missouri. The move was made in hopes of reaching more fans; however, the museum closed for financial reasons on December 12, 2009.
Apple Valley is located at the southern edge of the Mojave Desert. It is bordered by the cities of Victorville on the west and Hesperia on the southwest sides, with the Census-Designated Place of Lucerne Valley a distance to the east and the city of Barstow c. 30 miles to the north. Apple Valley, in combination with Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto and immediate surrounding areas, are commonly known as the Victor Valley. The primary thoroughfare through Apple Valley is State Route 18, which was given the moniker "Happy Trails Highway" within Apple Valley town limits, after the theme song of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who once resided on Outer Highway 18. The commercial area is split currently between State Route 18 and Bear Valley Road (the two roads are near parallel until they intersect in the east, outside of town). The Mojave River that borders the west side of Apple Valley flows south-to-north. The town is bounded on its southern edge by the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near Apple Valley CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter 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 technician in Apple Valley CA.
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