How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Hays Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Hays KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Hays KS
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Hays KS HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below 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 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically achieved in just six months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Hays KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of 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 or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Hays KS, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Hays KS students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Hays and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Hays KS
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Hays KS area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Hays KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Hays KS HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical 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 reviewing have referring partnerships with local Hays KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Hays KS HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Hays KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hays KS, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Hays KS?
Hays is a city in and the county seat of Ellis County, Kansas, United States. The largest city in northwestern Kansas, it is the economic and cultural center of the region. It is also a college town, home to Fort Hays State University. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 20,510.
Prior to American settlement of the area, the site of Hays was located near where the territories of the Arapaho, Kiowa, and Pawnee met. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it lay within the area organized by the U.S. as Kansas Territory in 1854. Kansas became a state in 1861, and the state government delineated the surrounding area as Ellis County in 1867.
In 1865, the U.S. Army established Fort Fletcher southeast of present-day Hays to protect stagecoaches traveling the Smoky Hill Trail. A year later, the Army renamed the post Fort Hays in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays. In late 1866, anticipating the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railway as far west as Fort Hays, a party from St. Louis, Missouri led by William Webb selected three sections of land for colonization near the fort. In June 1867, to better serve the railroad, the Army relocated Fort Hays 15 miles northwest to a site near where the railroad was to cross Big Creek, a tributary of the Smoky Hill River. Seeing a business opportunity, Buffalo Bill Cody and railroad contractor William Rose founded the settlement of Rome, Kansas near the fort's new location. Within a month, the population of Rome grew to over 2,000. Webb, meanwhile, established the Big Creek Land Company and then surveyed and platted a town site, which he named Hays City after the fort, roughly one mile east of Rome. The railroad reached Hays City soon thereafter and constructed a depot there. The railroad's arrival, combined with a cholera epidemic that hit Rome in the late summer of 1867, drove Rome businesses and residents to relocate to Hays City. Within a year, Rome was completely abandoned. As the western terminus of the railway, Hays City grew rapidly, serving as the supply point for territories to the west and southwest.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Hays KS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to search for are plenty of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect 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 choices and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Hays KS.
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