How to Select an HVAC School near Harrodsburg Kentucky
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Harrodsburg KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you require? A number of future students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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 additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC trade school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Pro in Harrodsburg KY
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Harrodsburg KY HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often completed in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Harrodsburg KY.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning residential or commercial 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 detailed background of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Harrodsburg KY, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended via the internet, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Harrodsburg KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Harrodsburg and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Harrodsburg KY
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Harrodsburg KY area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical schools in the Harrodsburg KY area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but also that it has the network of Harrodsburg KY HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Harrodsburg KY HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Harrodsburg KY HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Harrodsburg KY residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Harrodsburg KY, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Harrodsburg KY?
Although Harrodsburg was formally established by the House of Burgesses after Boonesborough and was not incorporated by the Kentucky legislature until 1836, it is usually considered the oldest city in Kentucky and has been honored as the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Appalachians.
Harrodstown (sometimes Harrod's Town) was laid out and founded by James Harrod on June 16, 1774. Later that same year, amid Dunmore's War, the settlement was abandoned as a result of Shawnee attacks. Resettled the following year, it was one of three settlements in present day Kentucky at the time the 13 colonies declared independence in 1776, along with Logan's Fort and Boonesborough. Also known as Oldtown, Harrodstown was the first seat of Virginia's Kentucky (1776), Lincoln (1780), and Mercer (1785) counties upon their formations. It remains the seat of Mercer County in Kentucky.
The settlement was formally established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1785 as Harrodsburg. Four years later, it was named the location for the newly created United States District Court for the District of Kentucky by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Kentucky General Assembly incorporated Harrodsburg in 1836.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Harrodsburg KY
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art 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 instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Harrodsburg KY.
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