How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Lecompton Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Lecompton KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the best one to get the training that you require? Some potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some 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. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Lecompton KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Lecompton KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several recognized certifications within the trade that are offered. Following 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 can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often accomplished in just six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Lecompton KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along 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 trade in Lecompton KS, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure 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 obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Lecompton KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Lecompton and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Lecompton KS
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Lecompton KS area and throughout the Country to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Lecompton KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lecompton KS HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 HVAC businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Lecompton KS HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Lecompton KS HVAC company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Lecompton KS home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lecompton KS, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Lecompton KS?
Lecompton was the former territorial capital of Kansas from 1855–61, and during much of the 1850s, the Douglas County seat. During this time, the city played a major historical role in pre-Civil War America, as it was a hotbed of proslavery sentiment. This time period was known as Bleeding Kansas, due to the violence perpetrated by both the pro- and anti-slavery factions in the eastern part of the state.
Lecompton was founded in 1854 and planted on a bluff on the south bank of the Kansas River. It was originally called "Bald Eagle", but the name was changed to Lecompton in honor of Samuel Lecompte, the chief justice of the territorial supreme court. In August 1855, the town became the capital of the Kansas Territory after President James Buchanan appointed Andrew Horatio Reeder as governor and charged him and his officials with establishing government offices in Lecompton. The city soon became a stronghold of pro-slavery politics and southern sympathy, which put it in conflict with nearby Lawrence (which had been founded by Free-Staters from Massachusetts).
In the fall of 1857, a convention met in Constitution Hall and drafted the famous Lecompton Constitution, which would have admitted Kansas as a slave state. The constitution was rejected after intense national debate and was one of the prime topics of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The controversy contributed to the growing dispute soon to erupt in civil war. The Lecompton Constitution failed, in part, because the antislavery party won control of the territorial legislature in the election of 1857. The new legislature met at Constitution Hall and immediately began to abolish the pro-slavery laws of the Bogus Legislature, the territory's lawmakers since July, 1855.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Lecompton KS
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should choose a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing 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 commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Lecompton KS.
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