HVAC Schools in California
California is a big state, and there are many schooling options all over the state for students wishing to obtain their HVAC license and certification in California. The HVAC Schools Guide alone lists 37 different existing schools specializing in California HVAC training. Some schools focus solely on teaching HVAC, and others offer an HVAC program in addition to many other focuses. When considering schools, it’s a good idea to think about classroom size, cost, and length of the program. If the student is planning on working while taking classes, they may choose to find a part-time versus full-time program that enables them to hold a job while enrolled in the course. Prospective students can help further narrow their search by researching the HVAC education and training requirements in California, then seeking out schools that have programs to help prepare them in this regard. If you’re interested in attending an HVAC school but don’t have plans to stay in California, there are HVAC schools in all the surrounding states. You can find HVAC training in Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada just to name a few.
One school that has campuses in 13 different California locations is San Joaquin Valley College. SJVC’s locations include Lancaster, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Temecula, among others. The school has a financial aid program that students may qualify for to receive scholarships, grants or work-study opportunities to make it more affordable. Students at SJVC can get their Associate of Science Degree in just over a year—14 months to be exact.
WyoTech is another school that offers campuses in different areas, like Fremont and Long Beach. WyoTech specializes in training future techs in skilled trades, automotive, diesel and HVAC professions. Their schools have small class sizes and employ real, live professionals in the industry as instructors. And their website offers a “Live Chat” option if you want to talk to somebody in real time to ask any questions about the school or its HVAC program.
Institute of Technology (IOT) has campuses in Modesto, Salem, Citrus Heights, and Redding. This school trains future HVAC technicians using computer simulations along with hands-on training and class time with instructors. The program is 9 months from start to finish, with four and a half hours of class time per day. Students can opt to attend classes from 8:00am-12:30pm, or take the afternoon course from 1:00pm-5:30pm. The school offers 5-week modular programs that directly address skills and know-how that students will need in the field. Professors are individuals who work or have worked in the HVAC field themselves and have personal experience. The class sizes tend to be about 10 students or less. One of the courses that is required by all students is a Professional Development Course, which covers spelling, computer education, and resume building. With IOT’s 9-month program, students earn a lifetime EPA federal certification in addition to a diploma, allowing them to work in or out of the state or even out of the country. The certification they earn does not require them to take Continuing Education courses later on. The tuition runs about $18,000, which includes all classes as well as one-on-one tutoring, parking, and roughly $600-700 worth of tools which become the students’ to keep.
Brownson Technical School is located in Anaheim. Bill Brown, the school’s director, has stated that HVAC has been his life-long career and there’s never been more than one week where he’s been out of work. Brownson teaches HVAC exclusively and offers a 10-month program. Their full-time class schedule gets students completed in 40 weeks, and for those that choose the part-time schedule can take classes in the evenings three days a week and be fully complete in 88 weeks. They also offer what they refer to as a “Blended Learning Program,” where students can take part of the program online, on their own time, instead of in a classroom on campus. Brownson estimates that students who take advantage of the Blended Learning Program are on campus for roughly 13 hours per week, to be present for the required hands-on part of their course training.
HVAC Training Schools in Californa
If you are interested to find more HVAC Education schools in California, a simple search for programs in your region or county should produce many. Here are a few more to get you going:
- Los Angeles Trade Technical College in Los Angeles is a community college that offers year round classes in refrigeration and air conditioning.
- Ashworth College is strictly an online course, accessible to anyone with WiFi connection.
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- College of the Desert in Palm Springs.
- Center for Employment Training in Sacramento.
- City College of San Francisco in San Francisco.
- Abram Friedman Occupational Center in Los Angeles.
Some Information on California HVAC Students
Many students are trained in installation, operation, maintenance, troubleshooting and duct work for a comprehensive education. Courses that certify students as HVAC techs let them pursue entry-level positions either in residential or commercial construction after graduation.
Let’s take a peek at graduation rates: Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center boasts a 90% graduation rate, and the U.S. Department of Education has determined that roughly only 2.6% of recent graduates are currently in default on their student loans. That’s a fairly small number, compared to the 33.2% of recent Antelope Valley College grads that are in default on their loans—and the school only has a 22% graduation rate. Mayfield College in Cathedral City has a 93% gradation rate, and the cost ($13,418) puts it at mid-range for what a student will spend on a program. It is certainly important to consider graduation rates when looking at schools, although my personal motto is where there’s a will, there’s a way! Dedication and putting forth solid effort into classes and training can ensure that you’re in the percentage of students that DO graduate, regardless of that the school’s former graduation rate may be.
Expenses Involved in an HVAC Training Program
Students looking to obtain an HVAC certificate can expect to pay between $1200 (or just under) and $15,000 while those seeking to take it a step further and earn an Associate’s Degree are going to pay about double, somewhere between $15,000-$35,000. The certification courses can be taken at a community college, or technical school, and generally take 6 months to one year to complete whereas an Associates Degree typically takes two full years to complete.
For instance, Antelope Valley College in Lancaster offers an HVAC program for $920, and each of the San Joaquin Valley College locations have programs that cost $29,750. Wyotech in Long Beach and Fremont’s programs cost $30,285.
Students may consider enrolling in HVAC apprenticeships, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, and typically last from 3-5 years. Students who choose to enroll in apprenticeships should be simultaneously receiving on-the-job, real-life training from an employer and may even choose to take a supervised HVAC position while earning a percentage of an experienced HVAC tech’s wages.