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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    30

    Union HVAC apprenticeship, how does it work?

    I have been seriously considering applying for the 2013 local 502 Louisville kentucky hvac mechanic apprenticeship. I have been a residential and light commercial tech for about five years now and I am afraid that I have reached the top of the career ladder in this field. I want to work on and learn more heavy commercial and industrial side of the trade and I feel a union apprenticeship is the only way to break into that part of the trade.

    My question is how does a HVAC mechanic apprenticeship work? Do you ride around with a journeyman tech for five years? Are apprentices only permitted to do preventive maintenence? Do they do any troubleshooting on their own, or is it only under the supervision of a journeyman? How does the system work?

    I have a Kentucky Journeyman license, Nate certification, universal EPA, an associates degree in hvac, about five years in the field and I am a veteran. With those qualifications I would assume I have a pretty good chance of getting in if I applied.

    Does anyone on this board know anything about local 502 Louisville, Ky? Is work slow? Is it even worth my time to even contemplate applying?

  2. #2
    The UA Service Apprenticeship in HVACR is an on-the-job experience with training. If the Service Apprentice wage scale is comparable to what your making now also factor in possible benefits available to you, this varies from Local to Local. Remember, it's not uncommon for a non-union HVACR Tech with 5 to 10 years experience to be white-ticketed as a Service Journeyman in a UA Local. I was white-ticketed into a UA Local by Honeywell and I only had 4 years experience. Check with the UA Local in your area and all of the signatory contractors, leave no stone unturned.
    Rule of thumb, if the Local in your area doesn't have HVACR listed at all in their insignia, they won't know much about HVACR. If their insignia has the words "Service Techs" - but no HVACR, they may act like they know about HVACR, but they really don't. If they have "HVACR" or "HVACR Techs" in their insignignia, then they probably do know about HVACR.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    1,386
    Quote Originally Posted by rivervalleytech View Post

    My question is how does a HVAC mechanic apprenticeship work? Do you ride around with a journeyman tech for five years? Are apprentices only permitted to do preventive maintenence? Do they do any troubleshooting on their own, or is it only under the supervision of a journeyman? How does the system work?
    First you must take a test, depending on the score you may get in right away of wait a year or so, be persistent and dont give up.
    Once your in, the union finds you a job and you must attend the training sessions twice per week, depending where they place you you may be riding alone and doing pretty much everything or riding alongside with a journeyman for 1 to 3 years.its a five years program, besides the training the program brings excellent networking opportunities.

  4. #4
    Two things right now. In UA Local 231, there was no testing to white-ticket n as a Service Jm. In UA Local 469, there's Service Apprentice training once a month. Every UA Local does things differently.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    193
    Don't mean to thread jack but I didn't want to make a new thread. With an upcoming interview with a local, I have a question regarding the availability of HVAC/R apprenticeship spots. When I first turned in my application, I had only checked off the HVAC/R box (where it asks which program you're interested in). When I turned it in, the lady went ahead and checked off the pipefitting and plumber (I believe) boxes and said that was to increase my chances of getting in if either one of those weren't available. My question is, how would simply getting in, regardless of which program it is, benefit me if my interest is in HVAC? Am I able to swap around once spots become available or something? I plan on asking them this if it comes up but figured I'd get an idea from those that experienced this.

    (I asked on here as well in case you didn't get the email Rob)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    259
    Quote Originally Posted by Jigjoe View Post
    Don't mean to thread jack but I didn't want to make a new thread. With an upcoming interview with a local, I have a question regarding the availability of HVAC/R apprenticeship spots. When I first turned in my application, I had only checked off the HVAC/R box (where it asks which program you're interested in). When I turned it in, the lady went ahead and checked off the pipefitting and plumber (I believe) boxes and said that was to increase my chances of getting in if either one of those weren't available. My question is, how would simply getting in, regardless of which program it is, benefit me if my interest is in HVAC? Am I able to swap around once spots become available or something? I plan on asking them this if it comes up but figured I'd get an idea from those that experienced this.

    (I asked on here as well in case you didn't get the email Rob)
    You want to do everything you can to start in HVAC and stay there. When I got into the union back in 1990, I went in as HVAC but a friend went in as a pipefitter. He's been stuck as a pipefitter to this day doing construction and retrofits. The problem with that is, the work is hit or miss. HVAC service work is much more consistent.

    Switching from plumbing or pipefitting to service HVAC is usually pretty difficult, but it can be done.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
    Posts
    2,019
    Quote Originally Posted by Jigjoe View Post
    Don't mean to thread jack but I didn't want to make a new thread. With an upcoming interview with a local, I have a question regarding the availability of HVAC/R apprenticeship spots. When I first turned in my application, I had only checked off the HVAC/R box (where it asks which program you're interested in). When I turned it in, the lady went ahead and checked off the pipefitting and plumber (I believe) boxes and said that was to increase my chances of getting in if either one of those weren't available. My question is, how would simply getting in, regardless of which program it is, benefit me if my interest is in HVAC? Am I able to swap around once spots become available or something? I plan on asking them this if it comes up but figured I'd get an idea from those that experienced this.

    (I asked on here as well in case you didn't get the email Rob)
    In our local you are stuck doing only the program you entered into until you complete that program. Once you are done with one program you can go through the other but it's a 10yr commitment to do both pipefitting then HVAC.
    UA LU189

    10mm, because it's better than .45acp

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    193
    Oh wow ok. I guess that is something that I should bring up first thing in the interview. I'm not sure why they would mark down that I'm interested in any available program when I not only checked but also highlighted the HVAC box lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
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    1,386
    Quote Originally Posted by Jigjoe View Post
    Oh wow ok. I guess that is something that I should bring up first thing in the interview. I'm not sure why they would mark down that I'm interested in any available program when I not only checked but also highlighted the HVAC box lol
    getting in is the biggest challenge, is like winning the lottery, no really but close, try to get in and move one step at the time, persistence is a biatch. good luck.

  10. #10
    I'm a UA member & have never understood the interviewing and all that through the Locals. I mean asking for job placement to an individual who only knows Construction as a Pipefitter or Plumber. Take it I was white-ticketed in.
    Always ask the contractors if they need a HVACR Tech, R-T-W or not!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    193
    Well I just had my interview and the questioning wasn't as bad as I thought. I don't think my wording was that great but I tend to do that when I'm nervous so hopefully it doesn't go against me too much. I feel like I could of done much better though. I think I was the only one there who interviewed for just the HVAC program. Most of the guys there said they were interviewing for all three. Unfortunately I won't find out if I made it until Thursday.

  12. #12
    Hello guys !
    I am completely new to this and there are things I don't get.
    Do only the Unions provide apprenticeship ?
    Rivervalleytech quoted: "...an associates degree in hvac, about five years in the field and I am a veteran...". And he's looking for joining a Union in order to have an apprenticeship. So he can have an associate degree and he can work without having been in an apprenticeship before. How is that possible ? And why to pass an associate degree when the Unions say they provide the courses ?
    On another side how is it possible to start an apprenticeship when we know nothing about the trade and we haven't followed any courses ? I assume in that case the associate degree makes sense.
    But once again do we have to take courses at community college or private school or are the courses provided by the Unions enough for somebody who know nothing about the trade ?
    Thank for your explanations !

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,638
    Quote Originally Posted by Oxley View Post
    Hello guys !
    I am completely new to this and there are things I don't get.
    Do only the Unions provide apprenticeship ? No
    Rivervalleytech quoted: "...an associates degree in hvac, about five years in the field and I am a veteran...". And he's looking for joining a Union in order to have an apprenticeship. So he can have an associate degree and he can work without having been in an apprenticeship before. How is that possible ? I assume he is looking to join a union to better himself whether monetarily or knowledge. He has experience and will be put to work under the shops discretion. And why to pass an associate degree when the Unions say they provide the courses ? Getting into a union isn't as easy as you might expectOn another side how is it possible to start an apprenticeship when we know nothing about the trade and we haven't followed any courses ? You start at the bottom I assume in that case the associate degree makes sense.
    But once again do we have to take courses at community college or private school or are the courses provided by the Unions enough for somebody who know nothing about the trade ? Yes
    Thank for your explanations !
    Everyone can't just get into the union as an apprentice. With no experience, you have to take a test and only the top 5% or 10% will make it in. If you already have experience, you can get sponsored in thru the shop that hired you. You take a test and pay a fee for the card.
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them

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