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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    22

    How Did You Get Your Start As A Service Tech

    I graduated from an HVAC school three years ago but didn't want to switch careers in a bad economy. Now I'm looking to finally get my start in HVAC and want to some day be a service tech. Problem is we all know most ads want experience, so I'd like to hear how you got your start in HVAC to give me and others some ideas on how we can break into the industry. I'm even considering working for free just to gain experience, because we all know there is a big difference between what you learn in the school and what you learn in the field.

    How did you get your start? As an installer? As a helper? Did you have any schooling? Did you get your certifications as you worked on the job?

    Please help us newbies get an idea of potential ways to get a start in HVAC by illustrating how you got your foot in the door.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Posts
    129
    I got my certs when completing school, and was a helper during school. When I finished school I went right to work doing appliance repair/warranty work, and did service/repairs,changeouts, a/c installs on the side. I switched it up recently, and have started working at a wholesale/distributor warehouse. I'm now getting a much more broad knowledge of parts, interchangability, manu. specs, etc. And I prefer this line of work over being in the field...
    But, I will probably always do side work mostly because I enjoy trouble-shooting. To each his own.

    If you want to be a service tech, in my opinion, become a service tech right from the jump. Being a helper first, if you need some hands on to build confidence.
    Most of the guys around here get hired on first as service techs, and work their way up to the installs.

  3. #3
    I did installs for 8 years, doing everything up to but not including the sealed systems, though we did hook up pre-charged linesets. Service didn't come 'til 10 years after I left the trade, when I did apartment maintenance. That's when I got my EPA certification and "Beer Can Cold" diploma. Been a recovering meatball surgeon ever since...
    (The wise men of modern thought) adore a god made of putty or of wax - plastic, effeminate, molluscous, with no masculine faculty about him, and no quality that entitles him to the respect of just and honest men, for a being who cannot be angry at wrongdoing is destitute of one of the essential virtues, and a moral Ruler who is not angry with the wicked, and who refuses to punish crime, is not divine. ---Spurgeon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,176
    I was a slave for my Father and Grand Father.

    I was always instructed that this is what I was going to do for a living!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
    Posts
    7,635
    i was male escort, hooked up with hvac company owners wife....

    oh, that's not what you were asking------------never mind
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,965
    For 3 years, I worked with a great tin knocker and installer half the time and worked with a great service tech from Vegas the other half of the time.

    Service tech quit and I filled his position for seven years at that company until I went to a strictly commercial outfit and then on my own.

    Been playing the game over 20 years now.....time sure goes by crazy fast.
    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fremont, Indiana
    Posts
    1,557
    Quote Originally Posted by SPBryant View Post
    I got my certs when completing school, and was a helper during school. When I finished school I went right to work doing appliance repair/warranty work, and did service/repairs,changeouts, a/c installs on the side. I switched it up recently, and have started working at a wholesale/distributor warehouse. I'm now getting a much more broad knowledge of parts, interchangability, manu. specs, etc. And I prefer this line of work over being in the field...
    But, I will probably always do side work mostly because I enjoy trouble-shooting. To each his own.

    If you want to be a service tech, in my opinion, become a service tech right from the jump. Being a helper first, if you need some hands on to build confidence.
    Most of the guys around here get hired on first as service techs, and work their way up to the installs.
    Sure about that! Always been the other way around where I come from. Service comes after you get familiar with equipment from installing.
    To the OP: "Sometimes you have to fake it to make it".
    Member of the "Work Exchange Program"
    "Will work for knowledge"

    "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"
    A Einstein

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Woodbridge Twp, NJ
    Posts
    1,308
    I lost my job as a tractor trailer driver due to the war and decided to go to school for something that (i thought) had no slow season; HVAC/R. Went to school, got my certs and the school placed me with a large telecommunications company as an in-house tech for their many sites. Not the best way to start because my bosses were old telecom guys who knew nothing about hvac and expected us (they took 2 of us from the same tech school) to know everything. I got a crash course in Lieberts and other units. After that i became a sponge for knowledge because i really had nobody to ask for answers.
    Every customer you take for granted today will be someone else's tomorrow.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Northeast Illinois
    Posts
    83
    Started in as factory as a mechanic and an automation tech. Took a class at community college. Found a mechanical contractor to take a chance on me as a service tech. They sent me on calls with another tech for a week and then I was on my own. Three weeks later I was on call for supermarket refrigeration service.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cloverdale,Ca
    Posts
    316
    I went to a trade school, took it very seriously, studied hard (and still do) also helps to become very good at interviewing. I set my sights high and obtained exactly what I asked for. When I was asked about a tripping limit in an interview and I knew a manometer is the tool used to test gas pressure to check for over firing the interviewer told me thank you for knowing when can you start. IN SHORT AIM HIGH AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    syracuse Ny
    Posts
    87
    I started out as a installer helper and worked my way up to lead installer. a good friend of mine went to a different company and then got me over there. After a few weeks of working there i asked the boss if i could learn how to do cleaning check. about a week later i was out in the field doing service work.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    st louis mo
    Posts
    334
    graduated from david ranken tech in late seventies, start myown business the next year, that was 30 years ago. my dad retired from a dairy 20 years ago to help me, everyone thinks he is my boss, thats fime with me

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    12
    went to the local community college and signed up for the hvac installer program, which is school from 8-5 five days a week for a full term, covers the basics of refrigeration, refrigeration electrical, and basic hvac installation. also took a career workshop course at the same time as part of the program which helped me polish up my resume and interviewing skills.

    applied to a few jobs on craigslist that wanted 3-5 years experience, applied anyway, and told them what i was doing and even though i didn't have experience in this field, i would learn, and two companies wanted me to interview. i now work for one of those companies doing heating and cooling, mostly maintenance, some service work, and some commercial installation.

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