How to Pick an HVAC Training Course near Granada Hills California
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Granada Hills CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the right one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Granada Hills CA
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Granada Hills CA HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected 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 achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually achieved in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Granada Hills CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level 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 supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Granada Hills CA, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Granada Hills CA students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even commuting expenses from Granada Hills 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 work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Granada Hills CA
When you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Granada Hills CA area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Granada Hills CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Granada Hills CA HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught along 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 businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Granada Hills CA HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Granada Hills CA HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Granada Hills CA home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Granada Hills CA, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Granada Hills CA?
Granada Hills, Los Angeles
The community began as dairy farm and orchard known as the Sunshine Ranch which grew apricots, oranges, walnuts and beans. Vestiges of former citrus groves can still be seen in orange, lemon or grapefruit trees in many residential yards. In 1916, the San Fernando Valley's first oil well was drilled in what is now Granada Hills. The oil well was located at the northern tip of Zelzah Avenue. Granada Hills was founded in 1926 as "Granada;" the "Hills" portion of the name was added 15 years later.
Granada Hills is located at the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains, north of North Hills, Northridge, west of Mission Hills and Sylmar, and east of the Porter Ranch neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Ronald Reagan Freeway–Route 118 runs through its southern area.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 50,535 residents in the 15.11-square neighborhood—or 3,344 people per square mile. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 53,998. In 2000 the median age for residents was 37,
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Granada Hills CA
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Granada Hills CA.
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