How to Select an HVAC Certification Course near Harlan Kentucky
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Harlan KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Even though these are significant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other details 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 additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Harlan KY
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Harlan KY HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Below are some of the significant 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 can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in just 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train 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 advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Harlan KY.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for 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 learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Harlan KY, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Harlan KY students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Harlan and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And many 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 more convenient to fit school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Harlan KY
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Harlan KY area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Harlan KY area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering 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 unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Harlan KY HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous 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 within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Harlan KY HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Harlan KY HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Harlan KY home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees 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 Harlan KY, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Harlan KY?
Harlan was first settled by Samuel and Chloe Howard in 1796. Upon the founding of Harlan County (named for Kentucky pioneer Silas Harlan) in 1819, the Howards donated 12 acres (49,000 m2) of land to serve as the county seat. The community there was already known as "Mount Pleasant", apparently owing to a nearby Indian mound. A post office was established on September 19, 1828, but called "Harlan Court House" due to another Mt. Pleasant preempting that name. During the Civil War, Confederate raiders under Gen. Humphrey Marshall occupied the town; the local postmaster renamed the community "Spurlock" after himself; and, in October 1863, the courthouse was burnt down in reprisal for the Union destruction of the courthouse in Lee County, Virginia. In 1865, the post office was renamed "Harlan" and, although the community was formally incorporated by the state assembly as "Mount Pleasant" on April 15, 1884, the town was already usually called "Harlan Court House" or "Harlan Town" by its inhabitants. The city's terms of incorporation were amended to change the name to "Harlan" on March 13, 1912. One year before, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad had arrived in Harlan and prompted massive growth. The city had initially expanded east along the Clover Fork; after World War II, it also expanded south along Martin's Fork.
A flood in 1977 prompted federal aid that diverted the Clover Fork into man-made tunnels under Ivy Hill in 1989. In the 1990s, a flood wall was completed on the city's west side along the four-lane bypass U.S. Route 421.
Harlan is located in west-central Harlan County at 36°50′29″N 83°19′12″W / 36.84139°N 83.32000°W / 36.84139; -83.32000 (36.841487, -83.320066), at the junction of the Clover Fork and Martin's Fork rivers. The Clover Fork continues north 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to join the Poor Fork, forming the Cumberland River, a major tributary of the Ohio River. Harlan is in a narrow mountain valley, constrained to the north by the western end of Black Mountain, to the south by Little Black Mountain, and to the west by Ewing Spur. The elevation at the Harlan Courthouse is 1,197 feet (365 m) above sea level, while the surrounding ridges rise outside the city limits to 2,100 feet (640 m) (Black Mountain), 3,000 feet (910 m) (Little Black Mountain), and 2,300 feet (700 m) (Ewing Spur).
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Harlan KY
Picking the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you should choose a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Harlan KY.
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