How to Choose an HVAC Certification Course near Galena Kansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC trade school near Galena KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Galena KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals 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 generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional means for Galena KS HVAC technicians to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a number of options offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually accomplished in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief description of each option offered near Galena KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 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 for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the appropriate credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Galena KS, eventually going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your education and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this option may be a more practical solution for many Galena KS students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Galena and study supplies can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your busy lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Galena KS
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Galena KS area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first two factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical schools in the Galena KS area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Galena KS HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Galena KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school 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 technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Galena KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Galena KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm 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 at night or on weekends near Galena KS, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Galena KS?
Although the railroad was built through the territory of Galena in 1871, the town did not start until the discovery of lead there in the spring of 1877. The first post office was established in 1877.
The city was originally platted by the Galena Mining and Smelting Company and was to be known as Cornwall. The city was actually known as Short Creek when first established because of a nearby creek and was known as Bonanza briefly before taking the present name of Galena in 1877, which is named after the lead ore galena found in the area. The city was part of the tri state mining area and had over 30,000 inhabitants. After the mines closed in the 1970s, population decreased.
The Jayhawk Ordnance Works northwest of Galena, built during World War II, was a large ordnance plant producing ammonium nitrate. After the war it was privatized by its operator Kenneth Aldred Spencer and at one point was the world's largest producer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the world. It would form the basis for the Spencer Chemical Company's fortune which would eventually be funneled into numerous philanthropies throughout Missouri and Kansas. The Spencer family had been in the area because of their ownership of the Pittsburg and Midway Coal Co. mining operation. The plant is still in operation as the Jayhawk Fine Chemicals Corporation.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Galena KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a gratifying career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you need to pick a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other features to search for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should check out each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered 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 detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Galena KS.
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