Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training Stafford KS

How to Choose the Right HVAC Degree Program near Stafford Kansas

air conditioner condensers in Stafford KSOnce you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning specialist, the next action is to locate an HVAC vocational school near Stafford KS. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the ideal one to obtain the training that you need? A number of future students will make their decision based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their home. While these are necessary considerations, they are not the only ones to investigate. A few of the other details that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and additional benchmarks will be covered in more detail later within this article. But before we discuss how to choose an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.

Becoming an HVAC Professional

Stafford KS HVAC Tech installing water heaterHVAC is an acronym that is frequently used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As professional tradesmen, they are generally mandated to be licensed, though every state and local municipality has its own requirements. Obtaining professional certification is not compulsory, but an optional way for Stafford KS HVAC technicians to demonstrate that they are highly proficient and accomplished in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are some of the significant 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 can be earned in one or more specialties.
  • HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience together with passing a comprehensive examination are required for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have 3 years of experience together with a passing score on the professional level exam. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in several 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 may be required in your location, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make certain that the program you choose preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.

HVAC Certificate and Degree Schools

radiator heater in Stafford KS homeThere are several options available for HVAC training in a vocational or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Earning a certificate will take the minimum period of time, often completed in as little as 6 months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will qualify you for the majority of HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs may provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more comprehensive training than the certificate programs. Below is a short description of each credential offered near Stafford KS.

  • Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
  • Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more exhaustive background of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally taking 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is suited more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a traditional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also learn how to design them.

Picking the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career aspirations are, in addition to the time and financial resources that you have to invest. One approach is to begin with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Stafford KS, eventually returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your strategy, make certain to ask the HVAC tech school you are looking at about how their returning student program works.

HVAC Schools Online

Stafford KS student attending HVAC school onlineEnrolling in an HVAC program online is one possibility in obtaining your training and earning a degree or certificate. Almost all schools will require some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or as an alternative to practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Stafford KS students that are short on time. And a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other traditional alternatives. Even driving expenses from Stafford and study materials can be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And many online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family obligations have left you with limited time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it easier to accommodate school into your active lifestyle.

Questions For HVAC Training Programs

Questions to ask Stafford KS HVAC training schoolsAfter you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you desire to acquire, either on campus or online, you can begin to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are many HVAC vocational schools in the Stafford KS area and throughout the USA to choose from. That’s why it is imperative to have a checklist of relevant qualifiers when making school assessments. As earlier stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the initial 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you should investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.

Accreditation.  A large number of HVAC vocational schools in the Stafford KS area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.

High Completion Rates.  Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Stafford KS HVAC employers to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment.

Apprenticeship Programs.  Most HVAC technical 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 inside their network of Heating and Cooling contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Stafford KS HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional HVAC professional community.

Modern Facilities.  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the HVAC technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Stafford KS HVAC contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Stafford KS residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Smaller Classes.   It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Flexible Scheduling.  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Stafford KS, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Considering an HVAC School near Stafford KS?

Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Stafford Kansas area.  If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.

Stafford, Kansas

Stafford was founded in 1878.[7] Like Stafford County, the city was named for Lewis Stafford, a casualty in the Civil War.[8] Stafford was destroyed by a tornado in 1882, and rebuilt within a year. Stafford was incorporated as a city in 1885.[9]

Stafford is located at 37°57′46″N 98°36′4″W / 37.96278°N 98.60111°W / 37.96278; -98.60111 (37.962789, -98.600996).[11] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.92 square miles (2.38 km2), all of it land.[1] It is approximately ninety-two miles northwest of Wichita on U.S. Route 50.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,042 people, 487 households, and 262 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,132.6 inhabitants per square mile (437.3/km2). There were 622 housing units at an average density of 676.1 per square mile (261.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.8% African American, 1.7% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.5% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.

Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training Stafford KS

Enrolling in the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a rewarding career in the heating & cooling field. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding Air Conditioner and Refrigeration Training. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to select an Heating and Cooling technical school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC profession. Other features to search for are lots of practical training and modern facilities. You should visit each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to explore the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the teaching and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling choices and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have outlined in our checklist for assessing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC contractor in Stafford KS.

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