How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Covina California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Covina CA. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to receive the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Covina CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Covina CA HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Covina CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along 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 Covina CA, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Covina CA students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Covina and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Covina CA
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Covina CA area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Covina CA area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some 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 low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Covina CA HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Covina CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Covina CA HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Covina CA residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
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 in the evening or on weekends near Covina 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 permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Covina CA?
Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California, about 22 miles (35 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, in the San Gabriel Valley region. The population was 47,796 at the 2010 census, up from 46,837 at the 2000 census. The city's slogan, "One Mile Square and All There", was coined when the incorporated area of the city was only (some say slightly less than) one square mile.
Covina is often confused with West Covina which is actually larger in both area and population, located to its south and westside. Irwindale lies to the west, as well as the unincorporated area of Vincent, and the city of Baldwin Park. Azusa and Glendora are to the north, the unincorporated community of Charter Oak to the northeast, San Dimas to the east, the unincorporated areas of Ramona and Via Verde, and the city of Pomona to the southeast.
Present day Covina was originally within the homelands of the indigenous Tongva people for 5,000 to 8,000 years. In the 18th century it the became part of Rancho La Puente in Alta California, a 1770s Spanish colonial and 1842 Mexican land grants.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Covina CA
Finding the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you need to pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Covina CA.
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