How to Select an HVAC School near Ceres California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC vocational school near Ceres CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion 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 discuss how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Ceres CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Ceres CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Ceres CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning 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 understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning 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 dependent on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Ceres CA, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor 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 via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Ceres CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Ceres and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations 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 busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Ceres CA
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Ceres CA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Ceres CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Ceres CA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs 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 Ceres CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment 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 technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ceres CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Ceres CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ceres CA, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Ceres CA?
The newspaper in Ceres is called The Ceres Courier. It has been in publication since 1910. The offices of the Ceres Courier were relocated from an address in downtown Ceres in 2012. It has since combined day-to-day operations with its sister paper, The Turlock Journal, in Turlock, CA . Jeff Benziger was appointed Editor in 1987. There is also a Spanish-language paper.
Ceres hosts annual events at different times of the year. Spring brings the Ceres Street Faire on the first weekend in May. Concert in the Park is a regular summer event. Halloween Fun Festival marks the Fall followed by the colorful, and much-attended, Christmas Tree Lane opening ceremony.
The first non-native families that inhabited Ceres were those of John Service, Cassius Warner, and Daniel Whitmore in the year 1867. Daniel C. Whitmore is considered the first family and founder of Ceres. He built his home in 1870, the Whitmore Mansion at 2928 5th Street. That home still stands, fully restored by the city and the Ceres Historical Society.
Pick the Right HVAC Certification Training near Ceres CA
Choosing the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether 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 outlined in our guidelines for evaluating 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Ceres CA.
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