How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Folsom California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Folsom CA. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to get the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors 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 discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Folsom CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Folsom CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be received 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 needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Folsom CA.
- Certificate. Generally 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Folsom CA, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Folsom CA students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Folsom and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Folsom CA
As soon as you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Folsom CA area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Folsom 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 an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Folsom CA HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Folsom CA HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Folsom CA HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Folsom CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might 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 couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Folsom CA, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Folsom CA?
Folsom is named for Joseph Libbey Folsom who purchased Rancho Rio de los Americanos from the heirs of a San Francisco merchant William Alexander Leidesdorff, and laid out the town called Granite City, mostly occupied by gold miners seeking fortune in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Though few amassed a great deal of wealth, the city prospered due to Joseph Folsom's lobbying to get a railway to connect the town with Sacramento. Joseph died in 1855, and Granite City was later renamed to Folsom in his honor. The railway was abandoned in the 1980s but opened up as the terminus of the Gold Line of Sacramento Regional Transit District's light rail service in 2005. A few former gold-rush era towns are located within city limits of Folsom, including Prairie City, Salmon Falls, and Mormon Island (though these towns no longer exist).
The establishment of Folsom Prison came in 1880, when the Livermore family made an agreement with the state to donate land for the prison in exchange for prison labor. They planned to build a hydro-electric dam from the American River for a sawmill. Though the sawmill did not work out, the Livermores soon realized that the natural force of running water could provide enough power to transmit to Sacramento, and the Folsom Powerhouse, now a National Historic Landmark, was opened. At the time it was opened, it had the longest overhead run of electricity (22 miles) in the country. The powerhouse operated until 1952.
Folsom Dam was built in 1956, providing much-needed flood control and water rights for the Sacramento Valley. The creation of this dam also created one of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Folsom Lake. The dam is located on the southwest corner of the lake. The lake is an estimated 4.8 miles (7.7 km) from Granite Bay to the most southern point of Folsom Lake.
Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Folsom CA
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Folsom CA.
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