How to Select an HVAC Certification Class near Hayward California
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Hayward CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? Many 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 considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things 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 benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Hayward CA
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Hayward CA HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually completed in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each option offered near Hayward CA.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Hayward CA, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Hayward CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Hayward and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Hayward CA
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Hayward CA area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Hayward CA area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on 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 recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Hayward CA HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Hayward CA HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Hayward CA HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Hayward CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hayward CA, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be 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, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Hayward CA?
Hayward (/ˈheɪwərd/; formerly, Haywards, Haywards Station, and Haywood) is a city located in Alameda County, California in the East Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a 2014 population of 149,392, Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area and the third largest in Alameda County. Hayward was ranked as the 37th most populous municipality in California. It is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census. It is located primarily between Castro Valley and Union City, and lies at the eastern terminus of the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. The city was devastated early in its history by the 1868 Hayward earthquake. From the early 20th century until the beginning of the 1980s, Hayward's economy was dominated by its now defunct food canning and salt production industries.
In the 19th century, the land that is now Hayward became part of Rancho San Lorenzo, a Spanish land grant to Guillermo Castro, in 1841. The site of his home was on the former El Camino Viejo, or Castro Street (now Mission Boulevard) between C and D Streets, but the structure was severely damaged in the 1868 Hayward earthquake, with the Hayward Fault running directly under its location. Most of the city's structures were destroyed in the earthquake, the last major earthquake on the fault. In 1930, that site was chosen for the construction of the City Hall, which served the city until 1969.
William Dutton Hayward arrived during the gold rush and "squatted" as he began to build a house next to the creek at the site of the old Polamares School. Guillermo Castro's Vaqueros came by one day and told Hayward to get off of Castro's property. William did leave, but went to Guillermo Castro directly and asked to buy a piece of his land. Castro sold him the area of what was east of Castro Street, now Mission Blvd and north side of A Street. William Hayward built a grand hotel on the property. He and his wife ran the hotel, which eventually burned to the ground around 1916.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Hayward CA
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Hayward CA.
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