How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Columbia Kentucky
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Columbia KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you require? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. These and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Columbia KY
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, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Columbia KY HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety 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 lesser amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each credential offered near Columbia KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, a number of 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 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Columbia KY, 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 Training
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one approach to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Columbia KY students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Columbia and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous 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, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Columbia KY
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Columbia KY area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 aspects you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Columbia KY area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors 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 broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Columbia KY HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Columbia KY HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school 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, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Columbia KY HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Columbia KY home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges 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 monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Columbia KY, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Columbia KY?
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,014 people, 1,554 households, and 893 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,167.9 per square mile (450.9/km2). There were 1,789 housing units at an average density of 520.5 per square mile (201.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.38% White, 7.37% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
There were 1,554 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 40.3% of all households were made up of individuals living alone and 22.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city, the population was spread out with 18.0% under the age of 18, 19.1% from 20 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
Select the Right HVAC Training Classes near Columbia KY
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Columbia KY.
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