How to Pick an HVAC Training Class near Durham California
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Durham CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Durham CA
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, 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. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Durham CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Durham CA.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, many 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 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.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to 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 Durham CA, eventually returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also sponsor 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 participated in on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Durham CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Durham and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Durham CA
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Durham CA area and across the United States to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Durham CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Durham CA HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Durham CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Durham CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Durham CA home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Durham CA, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Durham CA?
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 81.9 square miles (212 km2), of which, 81.8 square miles (212 km2) of it is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) of it (0.19%) is water. Durham's main agricultural products are almonds and walnuts.
Durham was founded by the Durham Family. It is named for W. W. Durham, member of the California State Assembly. The Durham House still stands today as a reminder of what Durham was back in its early years. Durham was a town in which a railroad ran through and still does today. The railroad is what developed this town and kept it alive. The Durham Flour Mill, which burned down several times, was an integral part of this community.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Durham had a population of 5,518. The population density was 67.3 people per square mile (26.0/km²). The racial makeup of Durham was 5,088 (92.2%) White, 19 (0.3%) African American, 55 (1.0%) Native American, 35 (0.6%) Asian, 9 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 165 (3.0%) from other races, and 147 (2.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 614 persons (11.1%).
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Durham CA
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing 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 commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Durham CA.
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