How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Blairsden-Graeagle California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Blairsden-Graeagle CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Blairsden-Graeagle CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Blairsden-Graeagle CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually completed in just 6 months, though some programs 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 can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Blairsden-Graeagle CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to complete, a number of 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Blairsden-Graeagle CA, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Blairsden-Graeagle CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Blairsden-Graeagle and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Blairsden-Graeagle CA
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Blairsden-Graeagle CA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Blairsden-Graeagle CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Blairsden-Graeagle CA HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction 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 trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Blairsden-Graeagle CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Blairsden-Graeagle CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Blairsden-Graeagle CA residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Blairsden-Graeagle CA, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Blairsden-Graeagle CA?
Graeagle is a census-designated place (CDP) located about 60 miles (97 km) from Reno, Nevada and 46 miles (74 km) from Truckee, California in Plumas County, California, United States. The population was 737 at the 2010 census, down from 831 at the 2000 census.
The town of Graeagle was founded in 1916, as a lumber town, and established a post office in 1919 with the moniker of Davies Mill. It was named Graeagle after a naming contest to select a better name than "Davies' Mill;" the winning entry contracted "Grey Eagle Creek" to Graeagle. This name may have some connection with Edward D Baker, the "Gray Eagle of Republicanism," who was in the mining region in 1856 while stumping the state for Frémont.
Graeagle Lumber Company was owned by the California Fruit Exchange and employed hundreds in logging, lumber production and to manufacture box shook (boxes for picking and shipping fruit and vegetables) from the 1920s to the 1950s. Modernization closed the mill in 1956, the box factory in 1957 and the town was acquired by the West family in 1959.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Blairsden-Graeagle CA
Selecting the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid 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 filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Blairsden-Graeagle CA.
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