How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Kekaha Hawaii
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to find an HVAC technical school near Kekaha HI. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Kekaha HI
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Kekaha HI HVAC techs to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several options available for HVAC training 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 lesser amount of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Kekaha HI.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish 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 taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Kekaha HI, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also sponsor 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 attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Kekaha HI students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Kekaha and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Kekaha HI
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Kekaha HI area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Kekaha HI area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of Kekaha HI HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 comparing have referring partnerships with local Kekaha HI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Kekaha HI HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Kekaha HI residence. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kekaha HI, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Kekaha HI?
For most of the 20th century, the Kekaha Sugar Mill (owned by Amfac) was the centerpiece of agriculture on Kauaʻi's west side. The sugar mill had a major influence in Kekaha's development, including banking, employment, transportation, housing and utilities such as water and electricity. The mill employed several generations of local families. It closed in 2000 when the entire sugar industry in Hawaiʻi collapsed. The mill was purchased in 2005 by mainland investors who sold off its heavy machinery to other mills as far away as Africa.
Hawaiʻi's first (and only) train robbery occurred here in February 1920, when a masked gunman stopped a slow-moving sugar train and escaped with the locomotive and $11,000 taken from the labor paymaster on board. Police recovered the money in a swamp near the home of a local fisherman, whose suspicious behavior soon resulted in his arrest and conviction. The fisherman was a big fan of Western movies, and was thought to have been inspired by some of the films he had seen.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which, 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (18.03%) is water.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Kekaha HI
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Kekaha HI.
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