How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Augusta Kansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Augusta KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Many 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 important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Augusta KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Augusta KS HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several 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 other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Augusta KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two 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 as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Augusta KS, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many 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 via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Augusta KS students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Augusta and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near Augusta KS
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Augusta KS area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Augusta KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Augusta KS HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Augusta KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Augusta KS HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Augusta KS home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Augusta KS, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Augusta KS?
In 1868, C. N. James settled in the area and built a log cabin to serve also as a general store and trading post. Around that same time, a post office was established in the settlement, and as the first postmaster, C. N. James named the post office and the town in honor of his wife, Augusta James.
In 1877, the Florence, El Dorado, and Walnut Valley Railroad Company built a branch line from Florence to El Dorado. In 1881 it was extended to Douglass, and later to Arkansas City. The rail line was leased and operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Service from Florence to El Dorado was abandoned in 1942. The original branch line connected Florence, Burns, De Graff, El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Rock, Akron, Winfield, Arkansas City.
The discovery of oil and natural gas in Butler County led to further growth and became a major source of employment for many years. The closure of Mobil Refinery in 1983 marked a change in Augusta's commerce.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Augusta KS
Selecting the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. 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 community. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate 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 informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Augusta KS.
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