How to Enroll In an HVAC School near Parsons Kansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Parsons KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important considerations, 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 addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Parsons KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Parsons KS HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Parsons KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Parsons KS, later returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for many Parsons KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Parsons and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Parsons KS
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Parsons KS area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned 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 need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Parsons KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent 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 alumni, which may produce 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Parsons KS HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Parsons KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Parsons KS HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Parsons KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Parsons KS, check 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 allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Parsons KS?
Parsons is a city in Labette County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,500. It is the most populous city of Labette County, and after Pittsburg, is the second-most populous city in the southeastern region of Kansas.
Parsons was named after Levi Parsons, president of the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated the following year. It soon became a major hub for several railroads including the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad, Parsons & Pacific Railroad, Kansas City & Pacific Railroad, and the Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railroad. In the early part of the twentieth century, Parsons operated its own street car system, and also had an interurban electric railroad connecting it to the nearby cities of Cherryvale, Independence, Coffeyville, and Nowata. During World War II it was home to the Kansas Ordnance Plant, which later operated for some years as the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. In Spring of 2005, the munitions plant was placed on the BRAC list for closure. The community has rallied behind the current plant operator, Day and Zimmerman, to keep the company on the grounds after closure and to keep those jobs and more in the Parsons area. (See link to "Great Plains Industrial Park" in "External Links", below) Parsons is also home to the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center, which has been in operation since 1903 when it was opened as the Kansas State Hospital for Epileptics.
In 1957 the hospital was renamed Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. At that time it began providing programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Hospital occupies 43 buildings on 163 acres (0.66 km2). The hospital also includes residential services, the University Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Parsons Research Center for the University of Kansas, the Special Purpose School of the Southeast Regional Education Service Center. The Southeast Kansas Agricultural Research Center of Kansas State University is also located on the grounds, as is the Alzheimer's Association, Heart of America Chapter, Southeast Kansas Regional Office.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Parsons KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this article, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and modern 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Parsons KS.
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