How to Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Kenai Alaska
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Kenai AK. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Some of the other things 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 other criteria will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently 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, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Kenai AK HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple 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 techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience in addition to passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s important that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, often achieved in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each credential offered near Kenai AK.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for 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 long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Kenai AK, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Kenai AK students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Kenai and study materials can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations 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 lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Kenai AK area and throughout the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 variables you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Kenai AK area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Kenai AK HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Kenai AK HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Kenai AK HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Kenai AK 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 charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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 students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Kenai AK?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Kenai Alaska area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Kenai (/ˈkiːnaɪ/, KEY-nigh) (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,942 in 2000.
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.
In 1786 Pytor Zaikov built Fort Nikolaevskaia for the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland. Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.
Top Heating and Air Conditioning Training Schools Kenai AK
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling trade. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Top Heating and Air Conditioning Training Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, you should select an Heating and Cooling school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are plenty of practical 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 instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Kenai AK.
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