How to Choose an HVAC Certification Class near Mount Sterling Kentucky
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to look for an HVAC vocational school near Mount Sterling KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to get the training that you require? Some potential students will make their selection based entirely on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. While these are important considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. 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. These and other criteria will be addressed in more detail later in this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling technician does to become a licensed professional tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Mount Sterling KY
HVAC is an acronym that is extensively used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own prerequisites. Earning professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for Mount Sterling KY HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of recognized certifications within the field that are offered. Here are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is achieved by passing a competency examination and can be acquired 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 examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience along with a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing might be required in your area, and you may also wish to obtain certification, it’s essential that you choose an HVAC technical school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make sure that the program you decide on prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are a variety of alternatives offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the least period of time, usually achieved in just six months, however 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 training programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief summary of each credential offered near Mount Sterling KY.
- Certificate. Normally 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 employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more exhaustive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking two years to complete, many degrees feature an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also study how to design them.
Picking the ideal credential program will be based on what your future career aspirations are, as well as the time and money that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Mount Sterling KY, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Courses Online
Attending an HVAC school online is one alternative in attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. Some also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be participated in on the web, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Mount Sterling KY students that are pressed for time. And a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even driving expenses from Mount Sterling and study supplies may be lessened, helping to make education more budget-friendly. And many online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your work or family commitments have left you with limited time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your busy schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Training Classes near Mount Sterling KY
Once you have selected the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, either online or on campus, you can start to limit your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Mount Sterling KY area and across the Country to select from. That’s why it is imperative to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the initial two factors you will consider. Following are some additional ones that you will want to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC technical schools in the Mount Sterling KY area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example HVAC technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 Mount Sterling KY HVAC employers to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Mount Sterling KY HVAC contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Mount Sterling KY HVAC contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Mount Sterling 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 charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction 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 with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Mount Sterling KY, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make 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 Mount Sterling KY?
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Mount Sterling – often written as Mt. Sterling – is a home rule-class city in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 6,895 at the 2010 U.S. census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County and the principal city of the Mount Sterling micropolitan area.
Mount Sterling is named for an ancient burial mound called Little Mountain, and for the town of Stirling in Scotland. It was named by the first developer of the area, Hugh Forbes. The Kentucky Assembly passed an act in 1792 establishing the town as Mt. Sterling, a misspelling which was retained.
The area was originally part of the thick wilderness of central Kentucky. Explorers, hunters, and surveyors traveling along a trail called Old Harper's Trace noted a 125-foot-high tree-covered mound which they called The Little Mountain. Later excavations showed it to be a burial site. The site of the mound is now the intersection of Queen and Locust Streets in Mt. Sterling.
Choose the Right HVAC Training Classes near Mount Sterling KY
Choosing the ideal HVAC training course is an important first step 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 certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should go to each of the schools personally 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 teaching and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for assessing schools, you’ll be able to filter your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Mount Sterling KY.
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