How to Choose an HVAC Training Course near Alexandria Kentucky
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Alexandria KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Alexandria KY
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Alexandria KY HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction 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 least period of time, often completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Alexandria KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 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.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Alexandria KY, subsequently returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Alexandria KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Alexandria and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Alexandria KY
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Alexandria KY area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Alexandria KY area have acquired 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 a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Alexandria KY HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Alexandria KY HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area 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 working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Alexandria KY HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Alexandria KY home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alexandria KY, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Alexandria KY?
Alexandria is a home rule-class city in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. Along with Newport, it is one of the dual seats of the county. The population was 8,477 at the 2010 census.
It is believed that the area that is now Alexandria was first settled by Frank Spilman and his family c. 1793. The Spilman family was from King George County, Virginia, and they may have named their settlement after Alexandria, Virginia. The family had begun developing and selling lots in the settlement by 1819, the year the first post office was established. On February 22, 1834, Alexandria was formally established by an act of the state assembly.
When the Kentucky General Assembly formed Kenton County from part of Campbell County in 1840, they moved Campbell's county seat from Newport to Alexandria, which was closer to the center of the redrawn county. The citizens of Alexandria quickly constructed a county courthouse but, because the majority of the county's population lived in Newport, the move was not a popular one and it took a court order and a visit from the sheriff to get the county clerk to move.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Alexandria KY
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other things to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC specialist in Alexandria KY.
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