How to Choose an HVAC School near Delano California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Delano CA. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research 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 addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Delano CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Delano CA HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below 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 competency exam and may 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 required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Delano CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Delano CA, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one possibility to getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Delano CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Delano and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Delano CA
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Delano CA area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Delano CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Delano CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Delano CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment 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, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Delano CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Delano CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Delano CA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Delano CA?
Delano (/dəˈleɪnoʊ/ də-LAY-noh) is a city in Kern County, California, United States. Delano is located 31 miles (50 km) north-northwest of Bakersfield at an elevation of 315 feet (96 m). The population was 52,088 in 2016, up from 38,824 in 2000. It is Kern County's second largest city after Bakersfield.
Agriculture is Delano's major industry. The area is particularly well known as a center for the growing of table grapes. Delano is also home to two California state prisons, North Kern State Prison and Kern Valley State Prison. The Voice of America once operated its largest, most powerful shortwave broadcast facility outside Delano at 35°45′15″N 119°17′7″W / 35.75417°N 119.28528°W / 35.75417; -119.28528. However, the Voice of America ceased broadcasts in October 2007, citing a changing political mission, reduced budgets, and changes in technology.
Delano's two school districts currently operate eight elementary schools, three middle schools, three comprehensive high schools and two alternative high schools. The city has its own police department and contracts with the Kern County Fire Department for fire services, EMS services are privately provided by local company, Delano Ambulance Service.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Delano CA
Finding the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should visit 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Delano CA.
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