How to Choose an HVAC Training Class near Columbus Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Columbus KS. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their decision based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in Columbus KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Columbus KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Following are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and may 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in multiple 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 additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are a number of options available for HVAC instruction in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often completed in just 6 months, though some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Columbus KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for 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.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Columbus KS, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. A number also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Columbus KS students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Columbus and study materials can be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Courses near Columbus KS
As soon as you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Columbus KS area and across the United States to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As previously mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Columbus KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning 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 suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Columbus KS HVAC employers to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational 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 within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Columbus KS HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Columbus KS HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Columbus KS residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable 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 a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbus KS, check that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Columbus KS?
Columbus was a railroad junction for the Saint Louis and San Francisco, and the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroads. It was named Columbus by A.L. Peters, one of the European-American founders, for his hometown of Columbus, Ohio; the name thus indirectly honors Christopher Columbus, the explorer. Coal, lead and zinc were mined in the region. Columbus had a considerable trade in agricultural products, and its businesses included machine shops, grain elevators, flour mills, a cigar factory, bottle works (soft drinks), a canning factory, and an extensive brick-making plant.
In 1875, Robert A. Long and Victor Bell formed the Long-Bell Lumber Company in Columbus. From one lumberyard, Long-Bell expanded operations and holdings to become one of the largest vertically integrated lumber companies in the United States. In 1956 it was purchased by International Paper.
Columbus is located at 37°10′17″N 94°50′27″W / 37.17139°N 94.84083°W / 37.17139; -94.84083 (37.171379, -94.840704). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.42 square miles (6.27 km2), all of it land.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Columbus KS
Finding the right HVAC training course is an important beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning field. As we have addressed in this post, you need to choose a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak 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 choices 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 appropriate questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating 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 specialist in Columbus KS.
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