How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Emporia Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC trade school near Emporia KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other factors 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 additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Emporia KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Emporia KS HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of 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 acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers 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 must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least period of time, typically achieved in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Emporia KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Emporia KS, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for many Emporia KS students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional options. Even commuting expenses from Emporia and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Emporia KS
After you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Emporia KS area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Emporia KS area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Emporia KS HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Emporia KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Emporia KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Emporia KS residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction 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 see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Emporia KS, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Emporia KS?
Emporia is a city in and the county seat of Lyon County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 24,916. Emporia lies between Topeka and Wichita at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 with Interstates 335 and 35 on the Kansas Turnpike. Emporia is also a college town, home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.
After the American Civil War, it became an important railroad hub; the first railroad reaching Emporia in 1869. In 1888, railroad executive and educator John Byers Anderson donated his personal library to the College of Emporia to commemorate his 50th wedding anniversary, and his former mentee Andrew Carnegie donated additional funds to build a library in Anderson's honor (conditioned upon the new college paying off its mortgage).
Emporia is particularly known for its newspaper, the Emporia Gazette, published in the first half of the 20th century by the legendary newspaperman William Allen White. The paper became the widely perceived model of excellence in small-town journalism.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Emporia KS
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally 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 instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Emporia KS.
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