How to Pick an HVAC Training Course near West Liberty Kentucky
Once you have made a decision on a career as a heating and air conditioning professional, the next action is to locate an HVAC trade school near West Liberty KY. But with so many to pick from, how do you select the best one to receive the training that you need? A number of prospective students will make their decision based solely on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Even though these are significant concerns, they are not the only ones to investigate. Just some of the other factors 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. These and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to choose an HVAC vocational school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist in West Liberty KY
HVAC is an acronym that is widely used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs provide services for the installation, repair and maintenance of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are commonly mandated to be licensed, although every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Attaining professional certification is not required, but a voluntary way for West Liberty KY HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are a number of respected certifications within the trade that are available. Following are a few of the important ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency examination and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are made available in multiple specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for specialists that work with refrigerants. There are three forms of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the other two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be required in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s important that you enroll in an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will more than likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Courses
There are several choices offered for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can attain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Obtaining a certificate will take the lesser period of time, typically accomplished in as little as six months, however some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for the majority of HVAC positions, particularly if you are licensed and have certification appropriate to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will deliver more extensive training than the certificate programs. Following is a brief explanation of each credential offered near West Liberty KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more extensive understanding of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically requiring 2 years to finish, a number of degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is tailored more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a standard 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.
Choosing the ideal credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One possibility is to begin with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in West Liberty KY, later going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Schools Online
Choosing an HVAC program online is one alternative to getting your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to participate in practical training. A number 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 alternative may be a more convenient solution for many West Liberty KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other traditional alternatives. Even travelling expenses from West Liberty and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Training Classes near West Liberty KY
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to attain, either on campus or online, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the West Liberty KY area and all over the United States to pick from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of relevant qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will probably be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are some additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC vocational schools in the West Liberty KY area have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at 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 might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Liberty KY HVAC employers to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many HVAC training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of Heating and Cooling businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local West Liberty KY HVAC specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local West Liberty KY HVAC company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your West Liberty KY home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Liberty KY, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending HVAC School near West Liberty KY?
West Liberty, Kentucky
West Liberty is a home rule-class city in Morgan County, Kentucky, United States. It is the county seat of Morgan County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,435. It is located on the banks of the Licking River at the junction of Kentucky Route 7 and U.S. Route 460.
By 1816, an early settlement at the town site was called Wells Mills. When Morgan County was founded in 1823, the settlement was incorporated to become the county seat. It chose the name West Liberty in the belief that Pikeville, Kentucky would be called "Liberty" when it incorporated. The town is actually 100 miles east of Liberty, Kentucky.
Three Civil War skirmishes were fought near West Liberty, and much of the town was burned during the war, including the courthouse. It was replaced after the war, and a fourth courthouse was built in 1907.
Select the Right HVAC Trade School near West Liberty KY
Finding the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a gratifying career in the heating and air conditioning trade. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a technical school and a degree or certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other factors to look for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to 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 instruction and the interaction between them. In addition, inquire about scheduling choices and whether evening or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to inquire about financial aid and student loan options as well. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC professional in West Liberty KY.
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