How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Seneca Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Seneca KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to get the training that you need? Some potential students will make their choice based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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. These and additional criteria will be covered in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and air conditioning specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Seneca KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, though each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional way for Seneca KS HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of specialization. There are multiple respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a proficiency examination and may 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 examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your location, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential 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 choose prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a short description of each credential offered near Seneca KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more comprehensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, 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 require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 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.
Choosing the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Seneca KS, eventually going back to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Classes
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative in getting your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended via the internet, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Seneca KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Seneca and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Seneca KS
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Seneca KS area and all over the Country to select from. That’s why it is very important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school evaluations. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the initial 2 variables you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade programs in the Seneca KS area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Seneca KS HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Seneca KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Seneca KS HVAC contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Seneca KS home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Seneca KS, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows 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 Seneca KS?
Seneca grew up along the wagon route from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oregon and California. British explorer Richard Francis Burton en route to California in 1860 passed through town and noted: "... Seneca, a city consisting of a few shanties ..."
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,991 people, 908 households, and 509 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,221.5 inhabitants per square mile (471.6/km2). There were 982 housing units at an average density of 602.5 per square mile (232.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.6% White, 0.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.
There were 908 households of which 21.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.9% were non-families. 40.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.84.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Seneca KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this post, you should choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to visit each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for assessing 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 professional in Seneca KS.
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