How to Pick an HVAC Training Course near Oakley Kansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Oakley KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the right one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Oakley KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Oakley KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Oakley 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 job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Oakley KS, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one approach to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for many Oakley KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Oakley and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Oakley KS
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Oakley KS area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Oakley KS area have acquired 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, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Oakley KS HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Oakley KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Oakley KS HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Oakley KS home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oakley KS, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Oakley KS?
The area that would later become Oakley was initially settled in the 1870s and 1880s by travelers from the Smoky Hill Trail. Oakley was founded in 1884 by Judge Fredman and David D. Hoag. Originally named Carlyle, its name was changed to Cleveland, before settling on its official name in 1885, named after Hoag's mother, Elizabeth Oakley Gardner Hoag.
Oakley is located at 39°7′41″N 100°51′16″W / 39.12806°N 100.85444°W / 39.12806; -100.85444 (39.128023, -100.854490) at an elevation of 3,064 feet (934 m). It lies roughly 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the South Fork of the Saline River in the High Plains region of the Great Plains.
The city is located at the intersection of Interstate 70, U.S. Route 40, and U.S. Route 83 in northwest Kansas. It is in the northeast corner of Logan County, and portions of it extend into Gove County and Thomas County. Oakley is approximately 211 miles (340 km) northwest of Wichita, 227 miles east-southeast of Denver, and 335 miles (539 km) west of Kansas City.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Oakley KS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Oakley KS.
More Fabulous Cities in Kansas