How to Enroll In an HVAC Certification Course near Norton Kansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner specialist, the next action is to find an HVAC trade school near Norton KS. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the best one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are relevant concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors 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 additional benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s take a look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Contractor in Norton KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an alternative means for Norton KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a competency examination and can be earned 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 exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Training Programs
There are several options available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically completed in as little as 6 months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will furnish more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each option offered near Norton KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to complete, a number of degrees incorporate 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 call for an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional four year program. In addition to being taught 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 future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Norton KS, later going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Attending an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to participate 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 remainder of the classes can be participated in via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for many Norton KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Norton and study materials may be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Training Programs near Norton KS
After you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Norton KS area and throughout the USA to select from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Norton KS area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Norton KS HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Norton KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Norton KS HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Norton KS home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Norton KS, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Norton KS?
Norton is located at 39°50′0″N 99°53′27″W / 39.83333°N 99.89083°W / 39.83333; -99.89083 (39.833338, -99.890899). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.93 square miles (5.00 km2), all land. The city is situated on the north side of Prairie Dog Creek in Norton County. Before the Bureau of Reclamation constructed Keith Sebelius Lake in 1963, Norton was prone to frequent flooding. The construction of the Dam has since resolved the problem and created the current reservoir that sits 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southwest of Norton. The Nebraska border is located 11 miles (18 km) north of the city.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,928 people, 1,290 households, and 763 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,517.1 inhabitants per square mile (585.8/km2). There were 1,465 housing units at an average density of 759.1 per square mile (293.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 0.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.
There were 1,290 households of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.9% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.86.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Norton KS
Selecting the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have detailed in our checklist for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Norton KS.
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