How to Find the Right HVAC School near Tompkinsville Kentucky
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Tompkinsville KY. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you need? Many future students will make their decision based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Tompkinsville KY
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Tompkinsville KY HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the field that are available. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists 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 may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools
There are a number of choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least amount of time, often accomplished in as little as 6 months, however 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 may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Tompkinsville KY.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling 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 suited more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Tompkinsville KY, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one approach in getting your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more accessible solution for some Tompkinsville KY students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Tompkinsville and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Tompkinsville KY
After you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC technical schools in the Tompkinsville KY area and all over the Country to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Tompkinsville KY area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also signify 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 list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Tompkinsville KY HVAC employers to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational 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 inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Tompkinsville KY HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Tompkinsville KY HVAC contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Tompkinsville KY residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tompkinsville KY, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Tompkinsville KY?
Tompkinsville is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Monroe County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,402 at the 2010 census, down from 2,660 in 2000. The city was named after Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins who served under President James Monroe, for whom the county was named.
Site of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan's first raid of his famous First Kentucky Raid. July 9, 1862, Morgan's Raiders, coming from Tennessee on their first raid into Kentucky, attacked Major Thomas J. Jordan's 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry at USA garrison. Raiders captured 30 of retreating enemy and destroyed tents and stores. They took 20 wagons, 50 mules, 40 horses, sugar and coffee supplies. At Glasgow they burned supplies, then went north, raiding 16 other towns before returning to Tennessee.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which, 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (4.69%) is water.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Tompkinsville KY
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for comparing 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 Tompkinsville KY.
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