How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Russell Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Russell KS. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some prospective students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Russell KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Russell KS HVAC techs to establish that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Russell KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, in addition to 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 gaining some experience in the trade in Russell KS, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Russell KS students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Russell and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Russell KS
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Russell KS area and across the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Russell KS area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Russell KS HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught along 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Russell KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Russell KS HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Russell KS residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Russell KS, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Russell KS?
In 1865, the Butterfield Overland Despatch established a short-lived station named Fossil Creek Station along its route from Atchison, Kansas to Denver near the site of modern Russell. In 1867, the Kansas Pacific Railway reached the area and built its own station, also named Fossil Creek, later just Fossil, north of the Butterfield station. That same year, the Kansas Legislature established the surrounding area as Russell County. In 1871, colonists from Ripon, Wisconsin established a permanent settlement at Fossil Station, renaming it Russell after the county. Russell was incorporated and named the provisional county seat in 1872, and, after a two-year dispute with neighboring Bunker Hill, it became the permanent county seat in 1874. In 1876, Volga Germans, mostly from the area around Saratov and Samara in Russia, began settling in and around Russell.
The first discovery oil well in Russell County was drilled west of Russell in 1923. An oil boom ensued and lasted through the 1930s, attracting settlers from Oklahoma and Texas. Petroleum production became a staple of the local economy.
Russell came to national attention in the mid-1990s as the hometown of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Arlen Specter when both men campaigned for the U.S. presidency. Dole was born and raised in Russell, and it remained his official place of residence throughout his political career.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Russell KS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have discussed in this article, you should choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, ask 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 appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Russell KS.
More Fabulous Cities in Kansas