How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Leavenworth Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Leavenworth KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to get the training that you require? Many potential students will make their selection based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other things that you need to look into 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 covered in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Leavenworth KS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Leavenworth KS HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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. 2 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 score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Leavenworth KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for 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.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Leavenworth KS, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Leavenworth KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Leavenworth and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Leavenworth KS
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Leavenworth KS area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first two factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Leavenworth KS area have attained 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 pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 lower completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers 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 mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Leavenworth KS HVAC employers to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical 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 within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Leavenworth KS HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Leavenworth KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Leavenworth KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Leavenworth KS, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Leavenworth KS?
Fort Leavenworth is a United States Army installation located in Leavenworth County, Kansas, immediately north of the city of Leavenworth, in the northeast part of the state. Built in 1827, it is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, DC, and the oldest permanent settlement in Kansas. Fort Leavenworth has been historically known as the "Intellectual Center of the Army."
Fort Leavenworth was also the base of African-American soldiers of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on 21 September 1866 at Fort Leavenworth. They became known as Buffalo Soldiers, nicknamed by the Native American tribes whom they fought. The term eventually was applied to all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866.
During the country's westward expansion, Fort Leavenworth was a forward destination for thousands of soldiers, surveyors, immigrants, American Indians, preachers and settlers who passed through. On August 1, 1846, a Mormon Battalion, led by Col. James Allen, arrived at Fort Leavenworth. Colonel Allen became ill and died at the fort; his headstone marks his grave at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Course near Leavenworth KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a 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 sufficient practical training and modern 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 current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if night 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 laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Leavenworth KS.
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