How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Lawrence Kansas
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Lawrence KS. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Even though these are necessary concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. A few of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Lawrence KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Lawrence KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and can 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 as well as passing a comprehensive exam are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will probably be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you select readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
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. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in just six months, however 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 programs may provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short summary of each option offered near Lawrence KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, many degrees include 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 standard 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 appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Lawrence KS, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one possibility in attaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for many Lawrence KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Lawrence and study supplies may be reduced, helping to make schooling more affordable. And numerous online schools 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 fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near Lawrence KS
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to attain, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Lawrence KS area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first two aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC vocational programs in the Lawrence KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing 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 might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of Lawrence KS HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Lawrence KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Lawrence KS HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lawrence KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lawrence KS, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Lawrence KS?
Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County and sixth largest city in Kansas. It is located in the northeastern sector of the state, next to Interstate 70, between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 87,643. Lawrence is a college town and the home to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Lawrence was founded by the New England Emigrant Aid Company and was named for Amos Adams Lawrence who offered financial aid and support for the settlement. Lawrence was central to the Bleeding Kansas era and was the site of the Wakarusa War (1855) the Sack of Lawrence (1856), and the Lawrence Massacre (1863).
Lawrence began as a center of Kansas politics. However, its economy soon diversified into many industries including agriculture, manufacturing, and ultimately education, beginning with the founding of the University of Kansas in 1866, and later Haskell Indian Nations University in 1884.
Pick the Right HVAC Training Course near Lawrence KS
Selecting the right HVAC training program is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have covered in this post, you should select a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of 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 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 options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Lawrence KS.
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