How to Pick an HVAC School near Waterville Kansas
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next step is to look for an HVAC technical school near Waterville KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you decide on the right one to receive the training that you need? Many prospective students will make their choice based solely on the cost of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to evaluate. 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 other benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Waterville KS
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Acquiring professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Waterville KS HVAC specialists to prove that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are multiple respected certifications within the industry 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 achieved by passing a proficiency exam and can be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is required 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.
Since licensing might be required in your location, and you may also desire to obtain certification, it’s imperative that you enroll in an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the program you select preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Courses
There are a variety of options offered for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, often achieved in as little as 6 months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree training programs may provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief description of each option offered near Waterville KS.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC professionals. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive understanding of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money 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 Waterville KS, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Schools
Attending an HVAC school online is one approach to obtaining your education and receiving a certificate or degree. Almost all schools will require 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 rest of the classes can be attended online, this alternative may be a more practical solution for some Waterville KS students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even travelling expenses from Waterville and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more affordable. And many online programs 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 active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Waterville KS
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you want to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to limit your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC trade schools in the Waterville KS area and across the Country to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of key qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the first 2 factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you need to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Numerous HVAC trade schools in the Waterville 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 relates to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Waterville KS HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Waterville KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, check with the HVAC tech you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Waterville KS HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Waterville KS home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm 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 Waterville KS, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Waterville KS?
Waterville is located at 39°41.5′N 96°45′W / 39.6917°N 96.750°W / 39.6917; -96.750. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.50 square miles (1.29 km2), of which, 0.49 square miles (1.27 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 680 people, 294 households, and 192 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,387.8 inhabitants per square mile (535.8/km2). There were 331 housing units at an average density of 675.5 per square mile (260.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.1% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 294 households of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.7% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.90.
Choose the Right HVAC Trade School near Waterville KS
Picking the right HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling industry. As we have discussed in this post, you should choose a trade school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC field. Other factors to search for are ample hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You need to go to each of the schools in person 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 training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you’ll be able to narrow down 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 technician in Waterville KS.
More Fabulous Cities in Kansas