How to Pick an HVAC Certification Course near Garden City Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Garden City KS. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many potential students will make their decision based exclusively on the price 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 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Garden City KS
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Garden City KS HVAC technicians to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination 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 professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three 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 technicians 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 may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training 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 lesser period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Garden City KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for 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 learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Garden City KS, later going back 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 Schools Online
Enrolling in 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 as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Garden City KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Garden City and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Garden City KS
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Garden City KS area and throughout the Country to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Garden City KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Garden City KS HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together 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 considering have referring partnerships with local Garden City KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Garden City KS HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Garden City KS home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Garden City KS, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Garden City KS?
Garden City, Kansas
Garden City is a city in and the county seat of Finney County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 26,658. The city is home to Garden City Community College and the Lee Richardson Zoo, the largest zoological park in western Kansas.
The original townsite was laid out on the south half of section 18 by engineer Charles Van Trump. The land was a loose, sandy loam and covered with sagebrush and soap weeds, but there were no trees. Main Street ran directly north and south, dividing William D. and James R. Fulton's claims. As soon as they could get building material, they erected two frame houses. William D. Fulton building on his land, on the east side of Main Street, a house one story and a half high, with two rooms on the ground and two rooms above. This was called the Occidental Hotel. William D. Fulton was proprietor. No other houses were built in Garden City until November 1878, when James R. Fulton and L.T. Walker each put up a building. The Fultons tried to get others to settle here, but only a few came, and at the end of the first year there were only four buildings.
Charles Jesse Jones, later known as "Buffalo" Jones, arrived in Garden City for an antelope hunt in January 1879. Before Jones returned home, the Fulton brothers procured his services to promote Garden City, and especially in trying to influence the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad to put in a switch station. The railroad agreed to place its station at Garden City. In the spring of 1879, more people began arriving to homestead in the area. During the years of 1885-1887, a rush was made for Western Kansas, and a settler arrived for every quarter section. The United States Land Office also located at Garden City, and people went there to make filings on their land. Lawyers also arrived in Garden City. I.R. Holmes, the agent for the sale of lands of the ATSF, and Holmes' partner, A.C. McKeever, in 1885 sold thousands of acres of railroad and private land.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Garden City KS
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to select a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to search for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Garden City KS.
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