How to Pick an HVAC Certification Class near Smith Center Kansas
Once you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioner technician, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Smith Center KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide on the ideal one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be addressed 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 a/c technician does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Tech in Smith Center KS
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly 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, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, however every state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary means for Smith Center KS HVAC specialists to prove that they are exceptionally qualified and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are available. Here are some 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 competency examination and may be received 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 must have 3 years of experience together with a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing could be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to earn certification, it’s important that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will probably be working with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices available for HVAC training in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive advantage in the job market and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Smith Center KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among beginning commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They provide a solid foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically 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 towards 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 cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, along with the time and financial resources 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 Smith Center KS, subsequently returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Attending an HVAC school online is one option in attaining your training and receiving a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in hands on 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 attended via the internet, this approach may be a more convenient solution for some Smith Center KS students that are short on time. And some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even driving expenses from Smith Center and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family obligations have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it more convenient to fit school into your hectic lifestyle.
Questions For HVAC Trade Schools near Smith Center KS
After you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Smith Center KS area and throughout the United States to pick from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will most likely be the initial 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade schools in the Smith Center KS area have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Smith Center KS HVAC employers to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Smith Center KS HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Smith Center KS HVAC contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Smith Center KS residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult 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 students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Smith Center KS, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending HVAC School near Smith Center KS?
Smith Center, Kansas
Smith Center was founded in 1871. The first post office in Smith Center was established in January 1873. Like Smith County, Smith Center was named for Maj. J. Nelson Smith of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry, a pre-war native of Elwood, Kansas, who died leading his regiment on October 21, 1864 at the Battle of the Little Blue River. 
Smith Center is located at 39°46′43″N 98°47′7″W / 39.77861°N 98.78528°W / 39.77861; -98.78528 (39.778550, -98.785141). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.24 square miles (3.21 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,665 people, 779 households, and 470 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,342.7 inhabitants per square mile (518.4/km2). There were 928 housing units at an average density of 748.4 per square mile (289.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.7% White, 0.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.
Select the Right HVAC Training Course near Smith Center KS
Finding the ideal HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should choose a vocational school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to inspect 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. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether or not evening 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 outlined in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Smith Center KS.
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