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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    9

    Relocating Washington

    I'm a tech with 2 years experience, south Texas. Looking to move family to Washington, pierce county area. Got some NATES, A/C heat pump and air balancing certs. Working for a major contractor here retro fitting resi systems, mini splits ect. Curious about how the industry is up there. All ads I see say they want the 06 voltage license. Is it a requirement to get hired? Is the work steady? We get kind of slow in the winter. From what I've read maybe I should go be an electrician for a while then go back to my trade. Any info is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    259
    In order to work on anything electrical requires an O6A license. To apply you need verified hours or you have to work under a license electrician to get your hours in. The test is an open book using the current NEC and current WEC. You can contact the Washington Labor and Industries for all the requirements. As for the work load, guys I know in Seattle always get their 40 in. Traffic is always bad and 9 months of the year its raining. You get 3 good months of good weather July, August, and September. October starts the 9 months of misery.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    For service the 06A is a must. You will also need a epa card if you plan on servicing refrigeration equipment. If you stay in Pierce county you can avoid getting a Seattle gas piping and refrigeration license. I know plenty of guys who have worked for years w/o getting the Seattle licenses, but the 06A is not easy to get around. I think you can get a trainee card, and or fill out an affidavit logging your current hours towards your 06A.

    P.S. There is no holy grail up here for work, you should have a solid job prospect before you make the move.
    The weather makes most of us up here want to move 9 months out of the year, bring lots of Gortex.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Kent, WA.
    Posts
    189
    I work as a commercial sevice tech up here. the commercial side can stay busy most of the year. since i got hired on 5 years ago i think i have only been told to stay home for a handfull of days. on the residential side there isnt much in ac work. we get 90* for a day or two and then it cools off so most people suffer through it at home rather than shell out bunches of cash for a/c. on the commercial side most of the year we deal with morning warm up and afternoon cool down so you would work on heating and cooling equipment year round. a 06a is a must and a 07 would be better.
    Experience
    Is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

    A positive attidude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worthwhile.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Murrieta Ca
    Posts
    30
    Hi, I'm a tech from Southern California, 5 years in the trade, union apprentice in my 4th year, and I was just curious to know, how the work opportunities for HVAC Commercial side is in the Seattle area. I just want to travel with my career while I'm young. Hey might be a permeant visitor to Seattle. I work on package units, splits, chillers, boilers, controls and networking etc.. Please help!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,766
    Anyone in the skilled trades, including garage door people, sign people, low voltage, high voltage, communication signals, etc, etc and the HVAC/R field need to have a fitting electrican's license. There are a variety of them. The 06A is best for the HVAC/R field but there are a few more limited licenses below the 06A license.

    When you become employed your employer will list you as a trainee with Labor & Industries. You will have to take classes, accumulate 2 years or more of on the job training under a 01 (full electrician) or an 06A license of that company that you are working for. Then you can take the tests for obtaining your full limited electricians license depending on the one you apply for. You must have the license on any job your are on and that includes installation and/or service.

    Your new employer should help you with this as it's their duty and it's against the law to have an unlicensed person on the job.

    Most of the residential service tech and installation tech that I know are putting in about 20 hours and that has been that way for some time. The refrigeration guys are doing a lot better but that's cause of the nature of the work.

    Seattle also requires other licenses as well as certain areas but that is up to your employer to take care of for you.

    The Seattle area is an expensive place to live. If you need the sun you won't make it here for more than 2 years or you will start going crazy. The techs here seem to be a little above average but they also tend to keep to themselves as most people in the Seattle are do. Making friends is not easy.

    Lots of good parts places and compared to a lot of major cities around the country traffic is not that bad. The morning and evening traffic is the worse.

    I'd spend some time here first before I would commit to moving here. Show up anytime in the next 6 months and experience the winter and what it is like working in the rain/mist/fog/chill/cold/wind/ice first. Really good sea food though.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Yakima, WA
    Posts
    99
    I have worked for a commercial refrigeration and food equipment company in Eastern Washington (Yakima) for almost 20 years. I came from SoCal in 87 and never looked back (sort of). The difference between Eastern and Western WA is stark. We get a LOT of sunshine over here, up in the 100's in the summer. We get snow in the winter (haven't had a serious winter since 96, though). Traffic just isn't an issue. There is drive time between most service calls because the towns here are spaced out. My company does business all over the western states and is almost never slow. I know I can't recruit here, but I'm working on my pro status so I can. We need gray hair here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Murrieta Ca
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaT View Post
    Anyone in the skilled trades, including garage door people, sign people, low voltage, high voltage, communication signals, etc, etc and the HVAC/R field need to have a fitting electrican's license. There are a variety of them. The 06A is best for the HVAC/R field but there are a few more limited licenses below the 06A license.

    When you become employed your employer will list you as a trainee with Labor & Industries. You will have to take classes, accumulate 2 years or more of on the job training under a 01 (full electrician) or an 06A license of that company that you are working for. Then you can take the tests for obtaining your full limited electricians license depending on the one you apply for. You must have the license on any job your are on and that includes installation and/or service.

    Your new employer should help you with this as it's their duty and it's against the law to have an unlicensed person on the job.

    Most of the residential service tech and installation tech that I know are putting in about 20 hours and that has been that way for some time. The refrigeration guys are doing a lot better but that's cause of the nature of the work.

    Seattle also requires other licenses as well as certain areas but that is up to your employer to take care of for you.

    The Seattle area is an expensive place to live. If you need the sun you won't make it here for more than 2 years or you will start going crazy. The techs here seem to be a little above average but they also tend to keep to themselves as most people in the Seattle are do. Making friends is not easy.

    Lots of good parts places and compared to a lot of major cities around the country traffic is not that bad. The morning and evening traffic is the worse.

    I'd spend some time here first before I would commit to moving here. Show up anytime in the next 6 months and experience the winter and what it is like working in the rain/mist/fog/chill/cold/wind/ice first. Really good sea food though.
    Wow, so even as a union journeyman, you still need to have all these licenses? What's the average pay for a journeyman tech? What type of equipment do you see? Are people friendly? Is it worth the move?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Murrieta Ca
    Posts
    30
    How is the cost of living I'm comparison to the average salary of our trade? Any union companies in eastern Washington? What type of equipment do you see on an average?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,766
    Quote Originally Posted by subc00l_king View Post
    Wow, so even as a union journeyman, you still need to have all these licenses? What's the average pay for a journeyman tech? What type of equipment do you see? Are people friendly? Is it worth the move?
    You can thank the union for creating all these electrical licenses. Last time I checked 8 of the 10 electrical board members were union. One of the field state electrical inspectors that I know told me a new non-union president had been elected...two weeks later he joined the union.

    If you are union find a union shop and if they like you you will be escorted through the electrical regulations to get you license. As for pay you will have to find that out yourself. I have a few union techs that live within a 5 mile radius of me so I also get to watch their service van driveway times. I see their vans in their driveways a lot during the day. Business is slow from most everyone as far as I can see. The people are nice but mostly indifferent. If you have kids and do the neighborhood kid thing you could have a fun time with neighborhood friends. One the other hand I've worked with a lot of techs on all types of jobs only to see them again later and they walk right past as if we have never met. That is typical. Worth the move? That depends on what your are doing now and how you life is. I'd do a lot more looking into this area though if I were you. Pierce county does seems to be a little more friendly as it's a little away from the central Seattle area.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,994
    I am hiring in Portland OR just south of you, no electrical license needed here. NATE and other crest will get you a job and I keep everybody working 40 hours per week plus full benefits. Email me travis at my username dot com
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    259
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    I am hiring in Portland OR just south of you, no electrical license needed here. NATE and other crest will get you a job and I keep everybody working 40 hours per week plus full benefits. Email me travis at my username dot com
    There is an electrical license needed for electrical work it is the LEB, there is also a brazing certificate for pipe up 2". To work on boilers you need a boilers license. There are other licenses needed depending on your trade. There is an apprenticeship program required by the state for hvac tradesmen to obtain the required license and it takes 4 years to complete. I teach 1st year of the 4 year program. I have had my electrical license since 1995. Oregon has had this requirement for sometime, enforcement has been lacking.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    The licenses were created to protect work and the quality of the work. I wish there were more licenses or just one master license for the state.
    The work up here seems to ebb and flow depending on the season and the economy. I have lived in the Seattle area my whole life and worked in this trade for 20 years and have seen the rise and fall a few times, but if you keep your skills honed and head up you will stay busy.

    I have been seeing more and more transplants moving in recently because our jobless rate is relatively low compared to the national average. I had one guy from New York tell me how polite and nice people are here. I agree, most of the fowl people I have had contact with are not local. I will add that the long, dark, cold, and rainy days can take their toll.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

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