How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Atwood Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Atwood KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors 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 benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Atwood KS
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Atwood KS HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several 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 earned by passing a competency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Atwood KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, a number of degrees include 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 four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Atwood KS, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some 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 attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Atwood KS students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Atwood and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Atwood KS
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Atwood KS area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Atwood KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly 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 can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Atwood KS HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Atwood KS HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Atwood KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Atwood KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atwood KS, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Atwood KS?
In 1875, T.A. Andrews and J.M. Matheny traveled to Rawlins County and started a town site about two miles east of the current city. The city of Attwood (with two t's) was named after Attwood Matheny, the 14-year-old son who accompanied his father on the journey. In 1882, the U.S. Post Office requested permission to drop one "t" thus becoming Atwood. In 1881, Atwood became the county seat of Rawlins County.
Atwood is located at 39°48′32″N 101°2′29″W / 39.80889°N 101.04139°W / 39.80889; -101.04139 (39.808971, −101.041370). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.10 square miles (2.85 km2), of which 1.04 square miles (2.69 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,194 people, 568 households, and 299 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,148.1 inhabitants per square mile (443.3/km2). There were 666 housing units at an average density of 640.4 per square mile (247.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.2% White, 0.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Atwood KS
Finding the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you need to pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are ample hands-on 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 talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction 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 ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options 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 Atwood KS.
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