How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Silver Lake Kansas
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Silver Lake KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you require? Many future students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are relevant factors to consider, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into 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 in 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 professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Silver Lake KS
HVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an alternative way for Silver Lake KS HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are multiple acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency 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 as well as passing a comprehensive examination 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. As with NATE, certifications are provided in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required for specialists that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing may be required in your area, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare 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 examinations.
HVAC Degree Classes
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, usually achieved in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs can provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each option offered near Silver Lake KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among beginning commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more detailed background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to complete, some degrees feature 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 conventional four year program. In addition to being taught how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be dependent on what your long term career goals are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the field in Silver Lake KS, later returning to acquire 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 Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will require some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. A number also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Silver Lake KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are more economical than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Silver Lake and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools near Silver Lake KS
After you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are probably aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Silver Lake KS area and all over the USA to choose from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial two aspects you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Silver Lake KS area have earned 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 an individual program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Air Conditioning schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Silver Lake KS HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught together 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 HVAC companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Silver Lake KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Silver Lake KS HVAC contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Silver Lake KS residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult 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 students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Silver Lake KS, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Silver Lake KS?
Silver Lake, Kansas
In 1911, a new six room brick school building replaced the original two room structure and the first high school class was organized. In 1928, that building became the elementary school. In 1952, the high school burned and a new high school was completed in 1953. In 1961, a new elementary school was completed.
Silver Lake is located at 39°6′9″N 95°51′33″W / 39.10250°N 95.85917°W / 39.10250; -95.85917 (39.102431, -95.859047). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.60 square miles (1.55 km2), of which, 0.58 square miles (1.50 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.
Silver Lake is the nearest city to Topeka to the west, along U.S. Route 24. Recently Silver Lake has had a higher proportion of its citizens commuting into Topeka. The next city west along US 24 is Rossville.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Silver Lake KS
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a crucial beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling field. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC community. Other features to look for are sufficient practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should check out 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 instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, ask about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC specialist in Silver Lake KS.
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