How to Select an HVAC School near Oak Grove Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Oak Grove KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to get the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Oak Grove KY
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Oak Grove KY HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are several recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be received 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 examination 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 examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Oak Grove KY.
- Certificate. Normally 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 provides a more detailed knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, many degrees feature 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 mastering 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 based on what your future career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Oak Grove KY, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Oak Grove KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Oak Grove and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Oak Grove KY
When you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Oak Grove KY area and all over the USA to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Oak Grove KY area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Oak Grove KY HVAC employers to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Oak Grove KY HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Oak Grove KY HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oak Grove KY residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers 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 expertise is and what degrees or certifications 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 Oak Grove KY, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Oak Grove KY?
Oak Grove, Kentucky
Oak Grove is a home rule-class city adjacent to the Fort Campbell army base in Christian County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 7,489 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. It is part of the Clarksville, Tennessee metropolitan area.
The first post office in Oak Grove was established in 1828. The community was named for oak trees near the original town site. The Clarksville Railroad was extended to Oak Grove in the 19th century.
Oak Grove is located in southeastern Christian County at 36°39′30″N 87°25′10″W / 36.65833°N 87.41944°W / 36.65833; -87.41944 (36.658374, -87.419565). Its southern border is the Tennessee state line, and it is bordered to the west by Fort Campbell. Hopkinsville, the Christian County seat, touches the northwest corner of Oak Grove along Fort Campbell Boulevard (U.S. Route 41 Alternate). Interstate 24 forms the northeast boundary of Oak Grove, with access from exit 86 (US 41 Alt.) and exit 89 (Kentucky Route 115). The city of Clarksville, Tennessee, is along the southern boundary of Oak Grove.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Oak Grove KY
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a crucial first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this post, you should pick a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, inquire about scheduling options and whether 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 appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Oak Grove KY.
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