How to Choose an HVAC Training Class near Paintsville Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Paintsville KY. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you require? Some future students will make their choice based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Paintsville KY
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in 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, though every state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Paintsville KY HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Following 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 competency examination and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed 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 provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are several alternatives offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, usually accomplished in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each option offered near Paintsville KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as 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 air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the right 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 invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Paintsville KY, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended on the web, this approach may be a more accessible solution for some Paintsville KY students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Paintsville 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 career or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Paintsville KY
After you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you want to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Paintsville KY area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Paintsville KY area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified 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 result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Paintsville KY HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught along 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 companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Paintsville KY HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Paintsville KY HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Paintsville KY residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Paintsville KY, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Paintsville KY?
Paintsville (locally /ˈpeɪntsvəl/) is a home rule-class city along Paint Creek in Johnson County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 3,459 during the 2010 U.S. Census.
A Paint Lick Station was referred to in military dispatches as early as 1780. The site was named for Indian art painted on the debarked trees near a local salt lick when the first white settlers arrived and was originally part of a 19,050-acre (7,710 ha) tract belonging to George Lewis. The trading post was purchased by the Carolinian Rev. Dalton Ray Chandler II in 1812 and laid out as the town of Paint Lick Station in 1826. The town was formally established under that name in 1834, although the post office was probably named Paint Creek. It was incorporated as a city under its present name of Paintsville in 1843, the same year it became the seat of Johnson County.
The Civil War found Johnson County Fiscal Court passing an ordinance barring both Union and Confederate flags from being flown in its jurisdiction. This was quickly repealed when then-Col. James A. Garfield marched his brigade into the city.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Paintsville KY
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are lots of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and if evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Paintsville KY.
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