How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Degree Program near Valley Center Kansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Valley Center KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? Many potential students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Although these are important factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other things 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central 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. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Valley Center KS HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often accomplished in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Valley Center KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking 2 years to complete, a number of degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Valley Center KS, later returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Many also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Valley Center KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Valley Center and study supplies may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs
When you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Valley Center KS area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first two variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Valley Center KS area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Valley Center KS HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Valley Center KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Valley Center KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Valley Center KS residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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 difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Valley Center KS, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering an HVAC School near Valley Center KS?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Valley Center Kansas area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Valley Center, Kansas
On the morning of July 17, 2007, a large explosion occurred at the Barton Solvents chemical plant in Valley Center, destroying the plant and forcing the temporary evacuation of the city. Cleanup began several weeks later, and the investigation was completed by mid-August.
Valley Center is located at 37°49′47″N 97°22′10″W / 37.82972°N 97.36944°W / 37.82972; -97.36944 (37.829719, -97.369341). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.95 square miles (18.00 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,822 people, 2,484 households, and 1,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 981.6 inhabitants per square mile (379.0/km2). There were 2,601 housing units at an average density of 374.2 per square mile (144.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.2% White, 0.8% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.6% of the population.
HVAC Schools Online Valley Center KS
Finding the ideal HVAC school course is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Schools Online. However, as we have addressed in this article, you should pick an Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing 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 dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Valley Center KS.
More Hot and Cool Locations in Kansas
Business Results 1 - 10 of 36