How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Castaic California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Castaic CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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 other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Castaic CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Castaic CA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Castaic CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Castaic CA, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most 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 as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Castaic CA students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Castaic and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Castaic CA
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Castaic CA area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Castaic CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent 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 broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Castaic CA HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical 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 contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Castaic CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Castaic CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Castaic CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Castaic CA, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Castaic CA?
Castaic, California (also spelled Castec, or Kashtiq; pronunciation is a source of contention between older and newer residents, see below) is an unincorporated community located in the northern part of Los Angeles County, California. Many thousands of motorists pass through Castaic daily as they drive to or from Los Angeles on Interstate 5. Castaic Lake is part of the California Water Project and is the site of a hydro-electric power plant. Castaic is 41.7 miles (67.1 km) northwest of Los Angeles Union Station and due north of the city of Santa Clarita, California.
On Spanish documents, the original spelling was Castec, which represented the Chumash Native American word Kashtiq, meaning “eyes” or “wet spot.” Castec is first mentioned on old boundary maps of Rancho San Francisco, as a canyon at the trailhead leading to the old Chumash camp at Castac Lake (Tejon Ranch), which is intermittently wet and briny.
Modern Castaic began in 1887 when Southern Pacific set up a railroad siding on the line between Piru and Saugus Station, naming it "Castaic Junction". Between January and April 1890, the Castec School District adopted the new spelling, Castaic.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Castaic CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 technician in Castaic CA.
More Fabulous Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 1900