How to Choose an HVAC School near Plainville Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC trade school near Plainville KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their selection based solely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Plainville KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Earning professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary means for Plainville KS HVAC specialists to establish that they are exceptionally proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are multiple recognized certifications within the industry that are available. Following are some 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 exam 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 together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification available, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s essential that you select an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a number of alternatives available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Plainville KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 4 year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be based on what your long term career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Plainville KS, subsequently going back to earn 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
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your training and earning a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Plainville KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other traditional choices. Even travelling expenses from Plainville and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Plainville KS
When you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC technical schools in the Plainville KS area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Plainville KS area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training program 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 Plainville KS HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Plainville KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Plainville KS HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Plainville KS home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Plainville KS, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Plainville KS?
Washington Irving Griffin settled along a freight trail in an area known as Paradise Flats in 1877. In order to establish a post office, Griffin completed a US Postal Service application that required the signature of the local Justice of the Peace. While reviewing the application, Justice of the Peace Lambert P. Darland suggested the name "Plainville". Griffin operated the Plainville post office and a small store from his sod house, the first structure in what would become the city of Plainville.
In 1888, Plainville filed for incorporation with 500 residents. Dan E. Miller was elected the first mayor. The first city council consisted of Dr. Volney M. Gray, Murray C. Knox, John Mullin, George Brooks and David E. Mickey.
Union Pacific Railroad established an east-west route through Plainville in August 1888. The train tracks ran parallel to Mill Street, approximately one block to the north. The Train Depot was located on the northwest corner of N First Street and Meridian Street. A Roundhouse was located at N First Street and Madison Street.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Plainville KS
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling field. As we have discussed in this article, you should select a vocational school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are lots 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 explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Plainville KS.
More Fabulous Cities in Kansas