How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Winona Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to look for an HVAC trade school near Winona KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Winona KS
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Winona KS HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly 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 furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Winona KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular 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 detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning 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 based on what your long term career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Winona KS, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Winona KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Winona and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Winona KS
Once you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Winona KS area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Winona 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 pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling 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 course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Winona KS HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together 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 Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Winona KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Winona KS HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Winona KS residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn 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 meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Winona KS, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Winona KS?
Winona was originally known as Gopher, and under the latter name was founded in 1884. It was renamed Winona in 1887. The community is named after the character Wenonah, the mother of Hiawatha in Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855).
Winona is located at 39°3′42″N 101°14′42″W / 39.06167°N 101.24500°W / 39.06167; -101.24500 (39.061639, -101.244995). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 162 people, 74 households, and 40 families residing in the city. The population density was 623.1 inhabitants per square mile (240.6/km2). There were 107 housing units at an average density of 411.5 per square mile (158.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.6% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Certification Training near Winona KS
Picking the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other things to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist 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 dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Winona KS.
More Fabulous Cities in Kansas