How to Choose an HVAC Training Class near Downs Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Downs KS. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some 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 criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Downs KS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Downs KS HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Downs KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Downs KS, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide 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 participated in via the internet, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Downs KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Downs and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Downs KS
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Downs KS area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Downs KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Downs KS HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Downs KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Downs KS HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Downs KS home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Downs KS, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Downs KS?
Downs had its start in the year 1879 when the Central Branch Railroad was extended to that point. It was named for William F. Downs, a railroad official from Atchison. Downs became an incorporated town in December of the same year. In 1910, the city had a population of 1,427. Business included 2 newspapers, a public library, flour mills, grain elevators, and an opera house.
Downs is located at 39°30′12″N 98°32′37″W / 39.50333°N 98.54361°W / 39.50333; -98.54361 (39.503305, -98.543500). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.00 square mile (2.59 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 900 people, 424 households, and 239 families residing in the city. The population density was 900.0 inhabitants per square mile (347.5/km2). There were 508 housing units at an average density of 508.0 per square mile (196.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.1% African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.6% Asian, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Downs KS
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Downs KS.
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