How to Choose an HVAC School near Manchester Kentucky
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Manchester KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Manchester KY
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Manchester KY HVAC techs to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each credential offered near Manchester KY.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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 learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Manchester KY, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one option in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in on the web, this option may be a more practical solution for many Manchester KY students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Manchester and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Manchester KY
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Manchester KY area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Manchester KY area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Manchester KY HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Manchester KY HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Manchester KY HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Manchester KY residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Manchester KY, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Manchester KY?
Manchester is a home rule-class city in Clay County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county and the home of a minimum- and medium-security federal prison. The city's population was 1,255 at the 2010 census.
The town was founded to be the seat of the newly formed Clay Co. in 1807 on a 10-acre (4.0 ha) parcel near the Lower Goose Creek Salt Works. The county court stipulated that the town be named Greenville in honor of the War-of-1812 general who gave the county its name. The Greenville in Muhlenberg County had already preëmpted that name, however, and it was changed to "Manchester" in December. There was a local legend in the town that this was in honor of the hometown of Gen. Garrard's second wife Lucy Lees, but Rennick points out that she was born well after the naming of the city. He opines that it is more likely that the local businessmen simply wanted a name evocative of the English industrial success.
Manchester is located at 37°9′10″N 83°45′48″W / 37.15278°N 83.76333°W / 37.15278; -83.76333 (37.152818, -83.763403). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all land.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Manchester KY
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. 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 outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore 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. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Manchester KY.
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