How to Find the Right HVAC School near Hiawatha Kansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Hiawatha KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant 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 completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Hiawatha KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but a voluntary means for Hiawatha KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available 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 need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Hiawatha KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish 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. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Hiawatha KS, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Hiawatha KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Hiawatha and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Hiawatha KS
When you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Hiawatha KS area and across the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Hiawatha KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Hiawatha KS HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools 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 relationships with local Hiawatha KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Hiawatha KS HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Hiawatha KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hiawatha KS, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Hiawatha KS?
Hiawatha was founded in 1857, making it one of the oldest towns in the state. John M. Coe, John P. Wheller, and Thomas J. Drummond were instrumental in organizing the city, and the site was staked out February 17, 1857. B.L. Rider reportedly was responsible for naming Hiawatha, taking the young Indian's name from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Hiawatha became the Brown County Seat in 1858, and the first school opened in 1870.
The main street was designated Oregon Street after the Oregon Trail. Parallel streets north of it were named after Indian tribes north of the Trail, and streets south carried tribal names of those south of the Trail.
Hiawatha is named after a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called The Song of Hiawatha. In the poem is legendary Onondaga and Mohawk Indian leader Hiawatha. Adjacent to the former Ioway-Sac reservation and the present-day Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Hiawatha is called Hári Wáta in Ioway, meaning "I am looking far away". This name may be the result of choosing Ioway words that sound like the English name. It has nothing to do with the Onondaga-Mohawk leader.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Hiawatha KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 contractor in Hiawatha KS.
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