How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Elizabethtown Kentucky
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Elizabethtown KY. 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 choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things 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. These and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Elizabethtown KY
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative way for Elizabethtown KY HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the trade that are available. Below are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency 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 in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several options offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually completed in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Elizabethtown KY.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Elizabethtown KY, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor 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 participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Elizabethtown KY students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Elizabethtown and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Elizabethtown KY
Once you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Elizabethtown KY area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Elizabethtown KY area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some 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 finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify 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 high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Elizabethtown KY HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Elizabethtown KY HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Elizabethtown KY HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Elizabethtown KY home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elizabethtown KY, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Elizabethtown KY?
Elizabethtown is a home rule-class city and the county seat of Hardin County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 28,531 at the 2010 census, and was estimated at 29,906 by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, making it the 11th-largest city in the state. It is included in (and the principal city of) the Elizabethtown–Fort Knox, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Louisville/Jefferson County–Elizabethtown–Madison, Kentucky-Indiana Combined Statistical Area.
Elizabethtown is in east-central Hardin County, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Fort Knox. Interstate 65 passes through the southeast side of the city, leading north-northeast 45 miles (72 km) to Louisville and southwest 71 miles (114 km) to Bowling Green. The Western Kentucky Parkway starts at I-65 in Elizabethtown and leads west 138 miles (222 km) to Eddyville. To the east, the Bluegrass Parkway leads 105 miles (169 km) to Lexington.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Elizabethtown has a total area of 25.8 square miles (67 km2), of which 25.4 square miles (66 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1 km2) (1.77%) is water.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Elizabethtown KY
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Elizabethtown KY.
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