How to Choose an HVAC School near Fredonia Kansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Fredonia KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation 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 within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Fredonia KS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business 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 commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Fredonia KS HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available 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 amount of time, often accomplished in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially 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 furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Fredonia KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential 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 detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Fredonia KS, later returning 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 alternative to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Fredonia KS students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Fredonia and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations 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 Training Programs near Fredonia KS
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Fredonia KS area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Fredonia KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Fredonia KS HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Fredonia KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fredonia KS HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fredonia KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn 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 are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fredonia KS, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Fredonia KS?
Fredonia is a city in and the county seat of Wilson County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,482. The town was founded in 1868, and saw considerable expansion in the early 20th century, with a fossil fuel boom.
Traveling along Kansas Highway 400 or the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway in southeast Kansas, one is struck by a large hillock rising out of the earth. Near there, in 1868, Fredonia was laid out, named after Fredonia, New York. The first building upon the town site was a general store, erected in 1868, on the southwest corner of the town square, soon followed by a simple courthouse and hotel. The first post office was established in August 1868.
It became a booming town with an emphasis on large industry. In May 1913, a large “vein of semi-anthracite coal” was discovered near the town. The coal that was found was “said to be of better quality than any other found in Kansas” at that time. With this discovery, it had the possibility of bringing in large amounts of money for the Wilson county area. A cement plant opened in Fredonia in 1907, supplying jobs to the community for more than 100 years, before it was closed in 2012. The economy in Fredonia was again boosted by the Archer Daniels Midland Company. The plant, which was obtained in 1928, operated as a soybean processing facility and supplied many jobs for the growing industrial town. In March 2003 the plant announced it would close its Fredonia branch effective immediately. Fredonia was a hub for oil development, a natural gas source, and had many railroad stations to import and export goods from the town. A large portion of the jobs in the town involved working at these plants which caused Fredonia to be greatly affected by their removal.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Fredonia KS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on 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 faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Fredonia KS.
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