How to Find the Right HVAC Training Class near Frankfort Kentucky
Now that you have come to a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next step is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Frankfort KY. But with so many to select from, how do you pick the right one to obtain the training that you require? A number of prospective students will make their choice based exclusively on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their residence. Even though these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Just some of the other things that you need to research are the graduation rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and cooling contractor does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Frankfort KY
HVAC is an acronym that is widely 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 typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but an optional way for Frankfort KY HVAC technicians to establish that they are highly qualified and accomplished in their area of specialization. There are several respected certifications within the field that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency exam and can be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive exam 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. Similar to NATE, certifications are offered in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are 3 forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing might be required in your location, and you may also wish to acquire certification, it’s essential that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the school you pick preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree Schools
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 lesser amount of time, typically completed in just six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will deliver more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Frankfort KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program provides a more detailed knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally taking two years to finish, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require 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 learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career goals are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Frankfort KY, eventually returning to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Choosing an HVAC program online is one possibility in getting your education and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in hands on training. Many also offer 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 option may be a more practical solution for many Frankfort KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional options. Even driving expenses from Frankfort and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your career or family responsibilities have left you with minimal time to attend classes, perhaps an online HVAC degree program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.
Questions to Ask HVAC Certification Classes near Frankfort KY
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you wish to attain, either online or on campus, you can begin to narrow down your list of schools. As you are probably aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Frankfort KY area and throughout the United States to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of key qualifiers when making school comparisons. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial 2 variables you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the Frankfort KY area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Frankfort KY HVAC employers to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Frankfort KY HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Frankfort KY HVAC contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Frankfort KY home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Frankfort 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 allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near Frankfort KY?
Frankfort is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the seat of Franklin County. It is a home rule-class city in Kentucky; the population was 25,527 at the 2010 census. Located along the Kentucky River, Frankfort is the principal city of the Frankfort, Kentucky Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Franklin and Anderson counties.
The town of Frankfort likely received its name from an event that took place in the 1780s. American Indians attacked a group of early European-American pioneers from Bryan Station, who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. Pioneer Stephen Frank was killed, and the settlers thereafter called the crossing "Frank's Ford." This name was later elided to Frankfort.
In 1786, James Wilkinson purchased the 260-acre (1.1 km2) tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which developed as downtown Frankfort. He was an early promoter of Frankfort as the state capital.
Pick the Right HVAC Trade School near Frankfort KY
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is a critical beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling trade. As we have discussed in this post, you need to pick a school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC field. Other things to search for are sufficient hands-on training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Try to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in Frankfort KY.
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