How to Find the Right HVAC Certification Class near Belle Plaine Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Belle Plaine KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. A few of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Belle Plaine KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Belle Plaine KS HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are available. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. 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 together with passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make certain that the school you choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices available for HVAC training in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each option offered near Belle Plaine KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally 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 suited more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Belle Plaine KS, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility to getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for many Belle Plaine KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Belle Plaine and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Belle Plaine KS
Once you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Belle Plaine KS area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Belle Plaine KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 Belle Plaine KS HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC training programs are taught together 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 businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Belle Plaine KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools 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 expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Belle Plaine KS HVAC contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Belle Plaine KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Belle Plaine KS, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Belle Plaine KS?
Belle Plaine, Kansas
Belle Plaine was founded in 1871. Belle Plaine is a French name meaning "beautiful plain". In 1883, Belle Plaine was a station and shipping point for the Southern Central & Fort Scott Railway. By 1910, it was at the junction of two railroads, the Missouri Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. The first post office in Belle Plaine was established in April 1871. In the fall of 1871 and spring of 1872, Miss Olive M. North taught a subscription school; and, in 1873, school district (No. 2) was established.
Belle Plaine is located at 37°23′39″N 97°16′45″W / 37.394214°N 97.279076°W / 37.394214; -97.279076 (37.394214, -97.279076). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.91 square miles (2.36 km2), all of it land.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Belle Plaine has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Belle Plaine KS
Choosing the right HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning industry. As we have discussed in this post, you need to select a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Belle Plaine KS.
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