How to Find the Right Heating and Cooling School near Kensett Arkansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Kensett AR. But with so many to select from, how do you select the best one to obtain the training that you need? Many potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative means for Kensett AR HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a proficiency 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 professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually completed in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Kensett AR.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive understanding of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Kensett AR, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative to attaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also sponsor 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 approach may be a more accessible solution for many Kensett AR students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Kensett and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs
Once you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you want to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Kensett AR area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Kensett AR area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kensett AR HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Kensett AR HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Kensett AR HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Kensett AR home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kensett AR, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering an HVAC School near Kensett AR?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Kensett Arkansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Kensett is a city in White County, Arkansas, United States. Located adjacent to the east side of Searcy, the city is the hometown of noted legislator Wilbur D. Mills, who was influential throughout the 1960s and 1970s in the United States House of Representatives.
Allen Edge is the current mayor. The population was 1,791 at the 2000 census. Many companies have moved to Kensett to support the natural gas industry. Kensett is a center for landscaping and nursery activity. Double Springs sod farm, Latina Nursery (well known for Japanese maples and peach trees), and Two Rivers Nursery are all located in or near Kensett. There are several restaurants, and Kensett has the lowest sales tax rate in White County.
Kensett was a stop on the defunct Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, which provided passenger and freight service from Joplin, Missouri, to Helena in Phillips County in eastern Arkansas, from 1906 until its disestablishment in 1946. At Kensett, the M&NA connected with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, later the Missouri Pacific Railroad, now the Union Pacific.
HVAC Courses Kensett AR
Selecting the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Courses. However, as we have addressed in this post, you need to choose an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other features to look for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk 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, inquire about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Kensett AR.
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