How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Course near Whitesburg Kentucky
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Whitesburg KY. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you need? Some prospective students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Whitesburg KY
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of 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 criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Whitesburg KY HVAC technicians to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam 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 field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in as little as six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each option offered near Whitesburg KY.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to complete, many degrees feature 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 standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, together with the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Whitesburg KY, subsequently going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Whitesburg KY students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Whitesburg and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Whitesburg KY
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Whitesburg KY area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Whitesburg KY area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Whitesburg KY HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Whitesburg KY HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Whitesburg KY HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Whitesburg KY residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Whitesburg KY, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Whitesburg KY?
Whitesburg is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Letcher County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,139 at the 2010 census. It was named for C. White, a state politician.
Whitesburg is home to Appalshop, a multi-disciplinary arts and education center founded in 1969 which produces original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books. WMMT (FM) 88.7 (Mountain Community Radio), was founded by Appalshop in 1985.
Whitesburg's major newspaper is The Mountain Eagle. Founded by Nehemiah Webb in 1907, the weekly paper has been owned by the Gish family of Letcher County since 1956. The Eagle has won numerous awards for its coverage of strip mining and its environmental effects, education, and political corruption.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Course near Whitesburg KY
Choosing the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you need to choose a trade 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 sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing 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 specialist in Whitesburg KY.
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