How to Enroll In an HVAC Training Course near La Crescenta California
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near La Crescenta CA. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in La Crescenta CA
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for La Crescenta CA HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training 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 lesser amount of time, often completed in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near La Crescenta CA.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as 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 acquiring some experience in the field in La Crescenta CA, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one option to attaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more convenient solution for some La Crescenta CA students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from La Crescenta and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many 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, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near La Crescenta CA
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the La Crescenta CA area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational schools in the La Crescenta CA area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of La Crescenta CA HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local La Crescenta CA HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local La Crescenta CA HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your La Crescenta CA home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools 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 La Crescenta CA, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near La Crescenta CA?
La Crescenta-Montrose, California
La Crescenta-Montrose is a populated place in Los Angeles County, California. Part of the community is an unincorporated area and census-designated place (CDP), while the other portion lies within the City of Glendale. According to the United States Census Bureau, the La Crescenta-Montrose CDP measures about 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), and the population was 19,653 at the 2010 census, up from 18,532 in the 2000 census.
The unincorporated part of La Crescenta-Montrose encompasses those parts of the Crescenta Valley, northwestern San Rafael Hills, and northeastern Verdugo Mountains not within the cities of Glendale or La Cañada Flintridge. Only a small portion of La Crescenta-Montrose is unincorporated, while the vast majority of it is within Glendale.
La Crescenta-Montrose is bordered on the north by the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest, on the east by La Cañada Flintridge, on the south by the Verdugo Mountains and central Glendale, and the northwest by the Sunland-Tujunga community of Los Angeles. The Foothill Freeway (I-210) runs through the southern portion of the area.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near La Crescenta CA
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in La Crescenta CA.
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