How to Enroll In an HVAC School near Oberlin Kansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC technical school near Oberlin KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just 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. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Oberlin KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry 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 commonly required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Oberlin KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency exam 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, usually completed in as little as 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 related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Oberlin KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring two years to complete, a number of degrees include 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 traditional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, along with 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 field in Oberlin KS, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one alternative to getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Oberlin KS students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Oberlin and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Oberlin KS
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Oberlin KS area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Oberlin KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining 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 course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC 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 program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean 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 Oberlin KS HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade 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 HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Oberlin KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Oberlin KS HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oberlin KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Oberlin KS, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Oberlin KS?
On September 30, 1878, Northern Cheyenne fleeing from Indian Territory to their homes in the north, the Northern Cheyenne Exodus, attacked homesteaders near Oberlin, then a tiny hamlet. The Last Indian Raid in Kansas room in the Decatur County Museum and a monument in the town cemetery near the graves of the victims commemorate those depredations.
Oberlin is located at 39°49′16″N 100°31′42″W / 39.82111°N 100.52833°W / 39.82111; -100.52833Coordinates: 39°49′16″N 100°31′42″W / 39.82111°N 100.52833°W / 39.82111; -100.52833 (39.821235, -100.528369) at an elevation of 2,562 feet (781 m). It lies on the northwest side of Sappa Creek, a tributary of the Republican River, in the High Plains region of the Great Plains. Located at the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and U.S. Route 83 in northwest Kansas, Oberlin is 228 miles (367 km) northwest of Wichita, 238 miles (383 km) east of Denver, and 320 miles (510 km) west-northwest of Kansas City.
Oberlin has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. The average temperature in Oberlin is 52 °F (11 °C) with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 62 days a year and dropping below 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 158 days a year. Oberlin typically experiences precipitation 66 days a year and snowfall 11 days a year. Precipitation averages 23 inches (574 mm) per year, and snowfall averages 32 inches (80 cm) per year. On average, January is the coldest month, and July is both the hottest month and the wettest month. The hottest temperature recorded in Oberlin was 111 °F (44 °C) in 1954; the coldest temperature recorded was -31 °F (-35 °C) in 1989.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Oberlin KS
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Oberlin KS.
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