How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Stafford Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Stafford KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? Some potential students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other details 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 covered 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 cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Stafford KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Stafford KS HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in just six months, although some courses 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 can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Stafford KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four 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.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Stafford KS, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech 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 receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also sponsor 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 online, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Stafford KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even travelling expenses from Stafford and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Stafford KS
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you desire to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Stafford KS area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Stafford KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Stafford KS HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Stafford KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Stafford KS HVAC company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Stafford KS home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience 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 fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Stafford KS, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Stafford KS?
Stafford was founded in 1878. Like Stafford County, the city was named for Lewis Stafford, a casualty in the Civil War. Stafford was destroyed by a tornado in 1882, and rebuilt within a year. Stafford was incorporated as a city in 1885.
Stafford is located at 37°57′46″N 98°36′4″W / 37.96278°N 98.60111°W / 37.96278; -98.60111 (37.962789, -98.600996). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.92 square miles (2.38 km2), all of it land. It is approximately ninety-two miles northwest of Wichita on U.S. Route 50.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,042 people, 487 households, and 262 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,132.6 inhabitants per square mile (437.3/km2). There were 622 housing units at an average density of 676.1 per square mile (261.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.8% African American, 1.7% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.5% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.
Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Stafford KS
Picking the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Stafford KS.
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