For that you'll have to get a reply from a member or check out their site.. They must have a "contact us" page, where you can ask their people some direct questions. Make sure you give the site a good once-over.. The more you know the better questions you can ask, the better impression you leave. I'm in a similar situation, just a bit younger and making a lot less, so 18 would be a decent raise lol
Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt
Here's my perspective from neighboring Ontario.. Starting with a 5 month gas tech program (on the tail end of it) that will leave me with a licence I can perform work with, cost was about 5K, plus the basic tools (another 1K), plus the reduced earnings on part-time hours on my day job (another 10K).. Because the scope of the licence is pretty decent and it doesn't take a lot to get it, most shops won't hire you without it. The good thing about it is that it involves a couple of months of experience in an actual shop. Many guys get hired by the place they interned in and having worked for a shop at least for a couple of months will make it easier for another shop to take you on (as long as you account yourself as a hard worker with at least a bit of learning ability, zero whining, being good with customers is a big plus). I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of the local union more because they offer the best training in the industry but the downside is that the wait for the old hands to retire so you can move up and do meaningful work might be a little long (3 years and counting in one case) which might put you at a disadvantage during the mandatory school sessions.
I also decided to change careers after losing a job back in 2009 and I am also someone who spent a lot of money on a trade school. I can tell you I do have a bit of regret.
I am going to list the major concerns you bring up and reply my thoughts.
1. Career Change
I assume you are probably at least 30 years old if not older, you don't need to tell me, I am just assuming based on what you say about being a teacher (My fiancee is also a NYC teacher so I know what you must be going through). Previously I did office work, and hated it for similar reasons you mentioned. Going from what is not a very physical job to one that is when you are a little older and are not used to it is very difficult. I was so tired my first few weeks doing field work. Some days I just did not feel like moving when I came home. You will be surrounded by guys younger than you who have been doing this for years. It is not easy to start over and take orders from someone much younger than you. The older guys (I mean like 40 plus) are already talking retirement or cutting back on hours (More on that later). It will not be an easy transition.
I agree do not waste your money and more importantly your time on any trade school. At my current company most of the guys started with zero background/schooling (although they are trying to change that) and learned on the job. School is good for theory, but teaches little hands on and its good for the paper that says you went there. Since you are already educated any trade school will be a breeze for you I am sure. But that means nothing, and I mean nothing when you go out to the field and are in front of a unit for the first time. You might as well be one of those guys that start with no prior education in the subject. Plus be prepared to pay a lot of money for this privilege of going to school, about $20,000 plus.
Okay so you decided to change your life, go to trade school and finished, now you are going to look for a job. Good luck to you! It is very difficult to get a good job in this field. There are so many non-union companies out there that will pay a little more than minimum wage and give you small raises if any. To get into a union or good company you have to know someone or be incredibly lucky. Even if you get into a union shop don't expect more than $15/hr starting as a helper, without OT, which brings me to....
4. Work environment
I touched on this a little before. But be prepared to sweat a lot, get dirty, work in all weather conditions, lift/carry heavy objects, squeeze into tight places and work in under unsafe conditions at times. As a helper you will carry tools for whoever you work with, buy coffee, and generally can take some verbal abuse. I learned to curse like a sailor in the field and I was never like that before. Coming from a more professional environment this will be a shock to you, both mentally and physically. Be prepared to work OT during the high season, depending on where you end up there will be a lot OT, some days you will work 16 hours plus. There are early starts and late nights at times. A few times I worked past mid-night. Weekends during the season will be shot, because you will work Saturdays. If you are on night call, forget about having a life at all for that week. Plus all your generous vacation time/days off you get as a teacher, adios. If you are lucky you will get two weeks at first (this time must be accrued or earned before taking it) and five sick days max (also must be accrued/earned). Lastly if you work in heating, no vacations from October till April, it is possible you will have to work Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years. In cooling, no vacations from April till Sept and you will likely miss Memorial day, Fourth of July and Labor day.
5. What to do?
I do regret sometimes the choice I made. Some days I wonder if I made the right choice. I am going to give it a little more time though, but only because of how much money/effort and time I put into it so far. If I were you I would really, really think about it. You have a good job, with great benefits that is stable. I know some days it must truly suck, and its not the job it used to be, but think about how much worse it can be out there. Good luck to you.
What needs to be done is NYS is that all techs need to be licensed then that would cut down on all of the hacks that are around here. They should come up with a licensing body and have tests for techs to get their cards. My
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If the trade school has a good coop program, your internship will give you a bit of industry experience. If you're responsible, work hard and there is work, the shop will take you on as a hand or at least give you good references if they're not what you're looking for or things are slow for them.
Why don't you just tutor to make up the money
If you tutor on weekends or weeknights you could make another couple of thousand a year at least but since you were a teacher you could charge much more than other tutors. Also you will work a lot more that 40 hours a week during heating and cooling season so that will add anoth few thousand to your yearly salary so you will be fine.
I started classes at Suffolk County Community College in September, 2010. I was 57 at that time. In four semesters at night I would have received a certificate in hvac. I was able to take a day class last December to May by working weekends. I'm going for the associates degree and will graduate in May, 2013, at the age of 60.
I have had a few jobs in the industry so far. I was able to get these jobs due to long time experience in residential oil heating. I just started a job with NYS as a refrigeration technician. Although the oil experience may have helped a little, it was the college experience on the resume that got me in. I thought I was too old but I guess I'm not. I didn't think the college experience would be enough. Wrong again. And I still have two semesters to go.
The state likes the idea of continuing education and will work with me on the hours and may even help pay for the last few clases. School is a good thing. Take the classes, and bury the companies in your resumes. If the company posts the job three times in one week, send them three resumes. Change your cover letter each time you reapply. I sent three resumes to one company and could not believe that the last cover letter worked. All it said was "bump".
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
So Earl how many of Professor Silberstein's classes have you taken? I only took one at night through: http://www.oilheatcomfortcorp.com/industryTraining.mv That's how I got my 608 card.
I started in the industry late also 40 something.