School and Ranking Information
Within 100 miles of Wichita, Kansas, there are five schools offering heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician training. Based on program offerings, graduation rates, and versatility, the three top schools in the area are:
- Winner: Wichita Technical Institute conferred the most certificates in HVAC Technology in 2011-2012. In addition to certificates, the school also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning Technology.
- Runner-Up #1: Salina Area Technical College boasts a 61% graduation rate and a 94% on-time completion rate.
- Runner-Up #2: Autry Technology Center has a 67% graduate rate and offers a job developer to work with students to find a job upon graduation.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Wichita Technical Institute||Salina Area Technical College||Autry Technology Center|
|Location||Wichita, KA||Salina, KA (80.5 miles from downtown Wichita)||Enid, OK (94.5 miles from downtown Wichita)|
|School Type||2-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$19,540 (for HVAC program)*||$4,019*||$1,680 (full-day adult tuition)**|
|HVAC Award Levels Offered||Certificates and associate's degrees||Certificates and associate's degrees*||Certificates*|
|HVAC Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012)||262 (only certificates reported)*||15*||9*|
|Most Popular HVAC Program (2011-2012)||N/A||Certificates (14 awarded)*||N/A|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2009 Entering Class||57%*||61%*||67%*|
|Noteworthy||Certificate students can complete 15 additional hours of general education coursework to earn an associate's degree||Students have the option of taking courses in addition to the certification program to earn an associate's degree||The air conditioning and refrigeration certificate program meets the requirements of the Oklahoma Construction Industry Board and the International Mechanical and Fuel Gas Code|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **Autry Technology Center
Winner: Wichita Technical Institute
- 100% of the associate's degree graduates of the 2010-2011 school year are employed, in the military or continuing their education, according to the school's follow-up study
- Students are required to purchase air conditioning tool kits through the school or from the vendor of their choice
Wichita Technical Institute has created a hands-on learning environment for students to work with technical equipment under the supervision of their instructors. In addition, local air conditioning companies make up the Industry Advocate Team, which advises the educators and administrators regarding the certificate and degree programs. Certificate coursework includes HVAC fundamentals, safety orientation and refrigeration principles and practices. Associate of Applied Science students must complete 63 credits. Graduates are prepared for careers as air conditioning technicians.
Runner-Up #1: Salina Area Technical College
- The school reports a 94% on-time completion rate for the HVAC certificate program in 2011-2012
- In 9 months, students are prepared to work in residential or commercial settings
- Instructor has more than 14 years of experience in HVAC
In 1965 Salina Area Technical College opened on the former Schilling Air Force base. Today, it occupies the area next to Kansas State Salina, sharing dorming and recreation with the state university. To earn a technical certificate in HVAC, students must complete courses in gas heating, electrical fundamentals and commercial refrigeration troubleshooting, among others. Associate's degree students must complete all of these courses as well as technical electives and general education classes, such as communications and mathematics. This field of study prepares graduates for careers as service technicians, installers and service managers.
Runner-Up #2: Autry Technology Center
- Scholarships are available for high school graduates who meet specific requirements
Founded in 1967, Autry Technology Center is one of the 5 original vocational-technical schools in the state of Oklahoma. It is part of a higher education system with 54 campuses throughout the state. The air conditioning and refrigeration certificate program runs from August to May. Students will learn how to calculate heat loads, prepare job estimates and install, service and maintain refrigeration, air and heating units. Applicants should be able to work in teams, climb ladders and have a normal color perception. Some careers graduates may qualify for include air conditioning, refrigeration or heating technicians, as well as mechanical maintenance workers.