How to Enroll In an HVAC Training Course near Olathe Kansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Olathe KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the right one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other details 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 covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to select an HVAC vocational school, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Tech in Olathe KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Attaining professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Olathe KS HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally qualified and experienced in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the trade that are offered. Here are some of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have three years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the school you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Classes
There are a variety of choices offered for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least amount of time, often achieved in just six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Olathe KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and a/c systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two 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 towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be based on what your future career goals are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the field in Olathe KS, eventually returning to obtain 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 Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative to obtaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also provide 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 option may be a more practical solution for some Olathe KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Olathe and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to fit school into your busy schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Programs near Olathe KS
As soon as you have picked the type of degree or certificate that you want to obtain, either online or on campus, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Olathe KS area and all over the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As formerly mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC vocational programs in the Olathe KS area have received 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 a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Olathe KS HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Olathe KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Olathe KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Olathe KS home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger 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 instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding 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 have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Olathe KS, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Olathe KS?
Olathe (/oʊˈleɪθə/ oh-LAY-thə) is a city in, and is the county seat of, Johnson County, Kansas, United States. Located in northeastern Kansas, it is the fourth most populous city in Kansas, with a population of 125,872 persons as of 2010. By 2017, the Census Bureau estimated Olathe's population had grown to 137,472. Olathe is also the fourth-largest city in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is bordered by the cities of Lenexa to the north, Overland Park to the east, De Soto to the northwest, and Gardner to the southwest.
Olathe was founded by Dr. John T. Barton in the spring of 1857. He rode to the center of Johnson County, Kansas, with another Free State Settler, M. Lester, and staked two quarter sections of land as the town site. He later described his ride to friends: "...the prairie was covered with verbena and other wild flowers. I kept thinking the land was beautiful and that I should name the town Beautiful." Purportedly, Barton asked a Shawnee interpreter how to say "Beautiful" in his native language. The interpreter responded, "Olathe."
Olathe was incorporated in 1857, and while not the first city in Johnson County, its rapid growth lead to it being named the county seat in October 1859. Rising tensions across the nation over the issue of slavery lead to numerous clashes between abolitionists settlers and neighboring slave state Missouri. These clashes would further escalate and become a part of the greater conflict known as Bleeding Kansas. With the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free state in 1861, violence began to dissipate. Peace, however, would continue to elude Olathe for many years to come. In 1861 Union officials and local military forces created a military post in the city. It housed one company of troops along with the local militia.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Olathe KS
Enrolling in the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have covered in this post, you need to select a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to search for are sufficient hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect 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 options and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Olathe KS.
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