How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Ellsworth Kansas
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC trade school near Ellsworth KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important factors to consider, 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. Those and additional benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Professional in Ellsworth KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Ellsworth KS HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the trade 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 attained by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, 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 desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are a variety of options available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, though some programs 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 for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each credential offered near Ellsworth KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Usually requiring 2 years to finish, some 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 or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Ellsworth KS, later going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Attending an HVAC program online is one option to obtaining your education and earning a degree or certificate. Most schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Ellsworth KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other traditional choices. Even driving expenses from Ellsworth and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools 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 HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Trade Schools near Ellsworth KS
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Ellsworth KS area and across the Country to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first two variables you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you should explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Ellsworth KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Ellsworth KS HVAC employers to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical 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 considering have referring partnerships with local Ellsworth KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, talk to the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Ellsworth KS HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Ellsworth KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ellsworth KS, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Ellsworth KS?
Ellsworth is a city in and the county seat of Ellsworth County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,120. Known as a cow town in the 1870s, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad operated a stockyard here for shipping cattle to eastern markets, in the 21st century, it serves as the trading center of the rural county.
Once called "The Wickedest Cattletown in Kansas", the city is named for Fort Ellsworth, which was built in 1864. Due to speculation on imminent railroad construction, the population of Ellsworth boomed to over two thousand by the time it was incorporated in 1867. It has since been said, "Abilene, the first, Dodge City, the last, but Ellsworth the wickedest".
Ellsworth was a bustling cattle town for a time during the late 1860s, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad had a stop and stockyards there. Cattle were driven up from Texas to this point, and then shipped to major markets. Often cowboys had the run of the town. In 1875 Kansas Pacific closed its cattle pens, moving to another location. The cattle trade dwindled to almost nothing by the mid-1880s.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Ellsworth KS
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC training program is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this article, you should pick a technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to look for are ample practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out 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 contractor in Ellsworth KS.
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