How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Riley Kansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to find an HVAC trade school near Riley KS. But with so many to select from, how do you select the right one to get the training that you require? Many potential students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to pick an HVAC trade school, let’s look at what a heating and air conditioning technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Riley KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though each state and local municipality has its own criteria. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative means for Riley KS HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are a number of acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency exam and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience along with a passing score on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing could be required in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you pick 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 decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are several choices offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically achieved in as little as 6 months, however some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification relevant to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a brief summary of each option offered near Riley KS.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning 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 comprehensive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Usually taking two years to finish, many degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a standard four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Selecting the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, as well as 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 Riley KS, eventually going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC program online is one alternative in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on training. Some also offer internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this option may be a more practical solution for some Riley KS students that are pressed for time. And some online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional choices. Even commuting expenses from Riley and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Riley KS
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you desire to earn, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Riley KS area and all over the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC technical programs in the Riley KS area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates 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 agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the HVAC training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers 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 broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Riley KS HVAC employers to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Riley KS HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Riley KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Riley KS home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Riley KS, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Riley KS?
Fort Riley is a United States Army installation located in North Central Kansas, on the Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, between Junction City and Manhattan. The Fort Riley Military Reservation covers 101,733 acres (41,170 ha) in Geary and Riley counties. The portion of the fort that contains housing development is part of the Fort Riley census-designated place, with a residential population of 7,761 as of the 2010 census. The fort has a daytime population of nearly 25,000. The ZIP Code is 66442.
Fort Riley is named in honor of Major General Bennet C. Riley, who led the first military escort along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was established in 1853 as a military post to protect the movement of people and trade over the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe trails. In the years after the Civil War, Fort Riley served as a major United States Cavalry post and school for cavalry tactics and practice. The post was a base for skirmishes with Native Americans after the Civil War ended in 1865, during which time George A. Custer was stationed at the fort.
In 1887, Fort Riley became the site of the United States Cavalry School. The famous all-black 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, the soldiers of which were called "Buffalo Soldiers", were stationed at Fort Riley at various times in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During World War I, the fort was home to 50,000 soldiers, and it is sometimes identified as ground zero for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which its soldiers were said to have spread all over the world. Since the end of World War II, various infantry divisions have been assigned there. Most notably, from 1955 to 1996 the post was home to the famed 1st Infantry Division, also called "Big Red One". Between 1999–2006, the post was headquarters to the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and known as "America's Warfighting Center". In August 2006, the Big Red One relocated its headquarters to Fort Riley from Leighton Barracks, Germany.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Trade School near Riley KS
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and if evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Riley KS.
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