How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Kernville California
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Kernville CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Kernville CA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Kernville CA HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Kernville CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored 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.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Kernville CA, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in 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 balance of the classes may be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Kernville CA students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Kernville and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Kernville CA
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Kernville CA area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Kernville CA area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 course. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Kernville CA HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Kernville CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Kernville CA HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Kernville CA home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kernville CA, confirm that the programs you are considering 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Kernville CA?
Kernville is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Kern County, California, United States. Kernville is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2,667 feet (813 m). The population was 1,395 at the 2010 census, down from 1,736 at the 2000 census.
The Kern River was named after artist and topographer Edward Kern, who accompanied John C. Fremont on his 1845 expedition. They camped at what was a fork of two rivers, now the middle of Lake Isabella. An 1858 gold rush led to the formation of a town briefly called Rogersville, then Williamsburg, which was in 1863 renamed Whiskey Flat after a bar opened. In 1864, the town was renamed Kernville.
After decades of planning, the Isabella Dam project began in 1948. As a result, Kernville was relocated upstream to its present location at the tip of the northeast fork of the man-made lake, along with certain historic buildings. Downtown visibly retains Kernville's gold rush and Old West roots, attracting tourists along with the area's natural scenery and outdoor activities. The town's original location is slightly east of Wofford Heights. Foundations and other remnants can still be seen when the lake is low. The famous Mountain Inn, built mainly to house movie stars and crew before the 1948 move, is now (partially) at the new Kernville, renamed the River View Lodge.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Kernville CA
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget 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 choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Kernville CA.
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