To Teck323 & MarkusSD
I'm based out of Orange County, CA and I think the certification the companies are looking for are your EPA license type 1 & 2 at a minimum and most expect universal (type 1,2 & 3).
NATE is quickly becoming the standard certification for techs and most legit companies expect you to have NATE core and 1 specialty (from 21 or 22 i think?)
Next question how do you get certified?
Yes you could spend thousands to go to tech school in Florida or other schools around the country.
Go to a local supply house, Johnstone supply, MSI, US airconditioning and ask what classes they offering. Many of them offer R410 cert, EPA 608 and NATE classes.
Sign up to a local community college and see what classes/courses are available for HVAC. I think Palomar in San Marcos offered classes.
Lastly Southern California Edison teamed up with an online hvac training company to give $1800 worth of free training. I don't know if you'll qualify or if its still available but here's the site.