How to Select an HVAC Training Class near Bowling Green Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling specialist, the next action is to choose an HVAC technical school near Bowling Green KY. But with so many to select from, how do you choose the right one to receive the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based entirely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. While these are significant 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 rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other benchmarks will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we examine how to select an HVAC training program, let’s take a look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Professional in Bowling Green KY
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, however each state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Attaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Bowling Green KY HVAC techs to prove that they are highly proficient and experienced in their area of expertise. There are several respected certifications within the industry that are offered. 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 competency examination and may be received in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. As with NATE, certifications are made available in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory 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 may be mandated in your location, and you may also desire to acquire certification, it’s important that you pick an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will most likely be working with refrigerants, make sure that the school you decide on readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Classes
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 least amount of time, typically achieved in just 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive advantage for securing employment and will provide more extensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each option offered near Bowling Green KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level commercial or residential HVAC professionals. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, some degrees include 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 traditional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the appropriate credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, along with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Bowling Green KY, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
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 complete hands on training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more convenient solution for some Bowling Green KY students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even travelling expenses from Bowling Green and study supplies can be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family obligations have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it more convenient to accommodate school into your hectic lifestyle.
What to Ask HVAC Schools near Bowling Green KY
After you have picked the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your selection of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC trade schools in the Bowling Green KY area and across the USA to select from. That’s why it is essential to have a list of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 aspects you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you should research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical programs in the Bowling Green KY area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make sure that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Bowling Green KY HVAC employers to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Bowling Green KY HVAC professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already 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 Bowling Green KY HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bowling Green KY home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bowling Green KY, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Bowling Green KY?
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Bowling Green is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Warren County, Kentucky, United States. As of 2017, its population of 67,067 made it the third most-populous city in the state after Louisville and Lexington; its metropolitan area had an estimated population of 165,732; and the combined statistical area it shares with Glasgow has an estimated population of 218,870.
Founded by pioneers in 1798, Bowling Green was the provisional capital of Confederate Kentucky during the American Civil War. The city was the subject of the 1967 Everly Brothers song "Bowling Green".
In the 21st century, it is the location of numerous manufacturers, including General Motors and Fruit of the Loom. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant has been the source of all Chevrolet Corvettes built since 1981. Bowling Green is also home to the state's second-largest public university, Western Kentucky University. In 2014, Forbes magazine listed Bowling Green as one of the Top 25 Best Places to Retire in the United States.
Enroll in the Right HVAC Training Classes near Bowling Green KY
Enrolling in the right HVAC training course is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have covered in this article, you need to select a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are plenty of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial assistance and student loan options as well. If you ask the proper 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 educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Bowling Green KY.
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