How to Pick an HVAC School near Albany Kentucky
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC technical school near Albany KY. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors 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 additional criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Albany KY
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Earning professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Albany KY HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists 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.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Albany KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Albany KY, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Albany KY students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Albany and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. 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, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near Albany KY
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Albany KY area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Albany KY area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program 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 obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Albany KY HVAC employers to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Albany KY HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Albany KY HVAC contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Albany KY residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Albany KY, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Albany KY?
Albany is a home rule-class city in Clinton County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 2,033 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Clinton County. It is located on U.S. Route 127, about 6 miles (10 km) north of the Tennessee border.
The community of Albany grew up around a tavern established by Benjamin Dowell in the early 19th century. In 1837, residents voted to make the location the seat of county government. It is generally accepted that the town, formally incorporated on January 27, 1838, was named after Albany, New York, but a local legend holds that, during the vote to determine the location of the county seat, patrons of Dowell's tavern shouted "All for Benny!", then "all Benny," which led to the town being called Albany.
During the Civil War, Albany was attacked by Confederate forces, and many buildings, including the courthouse, were burned. A marker in the courthouse square notes that Clinton was the native county of Civil War terrorist Champ Ferguson, hanged after the war for atrocities.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Classes near Albany KY
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling trade. As we have addressed in this post, you need to pick a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour 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, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for evaluating 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 ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Albany KY.
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