How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Florence Kentucky
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Florence KY. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Florence KY
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade 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 commonly mandated to be licensed, however every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Florence KY HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam 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 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 along with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC instruction 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 lesser amount of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Florence KY.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Florence KY, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Florence KY students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Florence and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Florence KY
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Florence KY area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational programs in the Florence KY area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Florence KY HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs 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 working relationships with local Florence KY HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies 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 using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Florence KY HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Florence KY residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence KY, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Florence KY?
The Florence area was originally known as Crossroads, because of the convergence of several roads from Burlington and Union at Ridge Road (now U.S. 25). By 1821, the area was known as Maddentown for Thomas Madden, a Covington attorney who owned a farm on the Burlington Pike. When Madden moved away, the area became known as Connersville in 1828 for Jacob Conner, a settler who assumed responsibility for the growing town. The town was finally renamed Florence because there was another Connersville in Harrison County. The name presumably is for Florence, Italy, but the specific etymology is unclear. It was incorporated on January 27, 1830, and grew quickly after the completion of the Covington-Lexington Turnpike in 1836.
Florence is located in eastern Boone County at 38°59′36″N 84°38′33″W / 38.99333°N 84.64250°W / 38.99333; -84.64250 (38.993225, -84.642602). U.S. Routes 25, 42, and 127 pass through the center of Florence, leading northeast in a concurrency 11 miles (18 km) to downtown Cincinnati. Interstates 75 and 71 pass through the western part of Florence, with access from exits 178 through 182.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.3 square miles (26.8 km2), of which 10.3 square miles (26.7 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.43%, is water.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Florence KY
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other factors to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined 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 right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Florence KY.
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