How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Dodge City Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Dodge City KS. But with so many to select from, how do you select the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just 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 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 professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Dodge City KS
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, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are typically mandated to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Dodge City KS HVAC techs to establish that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the trade that are available. Here 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 can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience in addition to passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are three types of certification available, 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 intend to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives available for HVAC instruction 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 least amount of time, usually achieved in just 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief explanation of each option offered near Dodge City KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, a number of degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the trade in Dodge City KS, subsequently 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 Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one option to obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. A number also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes can be participated in on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for some Dodge City KS students that are short on time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Dodge City and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Dodge City KS
As soon as you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Dodge City KS area and all over the United States to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Dodge City KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is 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 may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it 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 of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Dodge City KS HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Dodge City KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Dodge City KS HVAC company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Dodge City KS residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dodge City KS, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Dodge City KS?
Dodge City, Kansas
Dodge City is the county seat of Ford County, Kansas, United States, named after nearby Fort Dodge. The city is famous in American culture for its history as a wild frontier town of the Old West. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,340.
Fort Mann was the first settlement of nonindigenous people in the area that became Dodge City, built by civilians in 1847 (then the territory being part of Mexico) to provide protection for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Mann collapsed in 1848 after an Indian attack. In 1850, the U.S. Army arrived to provide protection in the region and constructed Fort Atkinson on the old Fort Mann site. The army abandoned Fort Atkinson in 1853. Military forces on the Santa Fe Trail were re-established farther north and east at Fort Larned in 1859, but the area remained vacant around what would become Dodge City until the end of the Civil War. In April 1865, the Indian Wars in the West began heating up, and the army constructed Fort Dodge to assist Fort Larned in providing protection on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Dodge remained in operation until 1882.
The town of Dodge City can trace its origins to 1871, when rancher Henry J. Sitler built a sod house west of Fort Dodge to oversee his cattle operations in the region, conveniently located near the Santa Fe Trail and Arkansas River, and Sitler's house quickly became a stopping point for travelers. Others saw the commercial potential of the region with the Santa Fe Railroad rapidly approaching from the east. In 1872, Dodge City was staked out on the 100th meridian and the legal western boundary of the Fort Dodge reservation. The town site was platted and George M. Hoover established the first bar in a tent to serve thirsty soldiers from Fort Dodge. The railroad arrived in September to find a town ready and waiting for business. The early settlers in Dodge City traded in buffalo bones and hides and provided a civilian community for Fort Dodge. However, with the arrival of the railroad, Dodge City soon became involved in the cattle trade.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Dodge City KS
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have covered in this article, you should select a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour 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 inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Dodge City KS.
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