How to Select an HVAC Training Course near Wichita Kansas
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next step is to find an HVAC vocational school near Wichita KS. But with so many to pick from, how do you pick the best one to obtain the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their choice based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are necessary factors to consider, they are not the only ones to investigate. 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. Those and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we tackle how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling specialist does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Specialist in Wichita KS
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional means for Wichita KS HVAC specialists to establish that they are highly skilled and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are many acknowledged certifications within the trade that are offered. Below are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC techs. The certification is achieved by passing a competency exam and can be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive exam are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience as well as a passing result on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC technical school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Courses
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, although 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 training programs can provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Wichita KS.
- Certificate. Usually requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC technicians. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more exhaustive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, many degrees incorporate 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 4 year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Wichita KS, later returning to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Training Online
Choosing an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your education and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the rest of the classes may be participated in via the internet, this alternative may be a more practical solution for many Wichita KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even commuting expenses from Wichita and study supplies can be reduced, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And a large number of online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Schools near Wichita KS
When you have selected the type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Wichita KS area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will undoubtedly be the first two factors you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade schools in the Wichita KS area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important 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 can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Wichita KS HVAC employers to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Wichita KS HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Wichita KS HVAC company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Wichita KS residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wichita KS, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Wichita KS?
Wichita (/ˈwɪtʃɪtɔː/ WITCH-i-taw) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area whose estimated population in 2015 was 644,610. As of 2017, the city of Wichita had an estimated population of 391,586.
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s and was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a destination for cattle drives north from Texas to railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown". In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city transformed into a hub of U.S. aircraft production and became known as "The Air Capital of the World".Textron Aviation, Learjet, Airbus and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita, and the city remains a major center of the U.S. aircraft industry. Wichita is also home to McConnell Air Force Base.
As an industrial hub and the largest city in the state, Wichita is an area center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theaters, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Wichita State University is the third largest in the state. Wichita is also home to the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas's largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
Choose the Right HVAC Certification Training near Wichita KS
Selecting the right HVAC training program is a critical first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have addressed in this article, you should select a vocational 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 lots of hands-on training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Try to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And don’t forget to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC professional in Wichita KS.
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