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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh
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    10

    Technical School or Community College for HVAC?

    Hello all
    I am new to the site and would appreciate some advice.
    I currently have a 2 year CAD degree and work full time as a Mechanical Designer. However I am seriously considering going back to school for HVAC. I don't think I want to do CAD work the rest of my working life.

    So my question is which type of school would benefit me more if I decide to pursue a degree in HVAC? A tech school or the local community college? The community college is 1/2 the cost of the tech school? (and 15 min. away vs an hour away for the tech school)

    The technical school looks to offer much better classes though. The technical school is 15 months for the A.A.S degree in hvac & The Community school is a full 2 years.

    Will employers look at a Community college differently than a Technical school?

    whats your opinions on this?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Woodbridge Twp, NJ
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    1,308
    Since most buisness owners are grads of some technical program i would lean towards that. I dont know how much hands-on a community college can offer.
    Every customer you take for granted today will be someone else's tomorrow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Toronto Canada
    Posts
    1,090
    In Canada it is the opposite. The College that is Cert by TSSA and CFQ would be Taken over any "Techinacal" school. They are known to pump out very stupid Tech's. thier is a certin Tech school that alot of guys see it on a resume and throw it out.

    I would go to the school that has the best rep for pumping out knowlegble techs with certs not just guys with $ buying certs. If you have a foot in the field ask around what one is best in your area. DLZ Dan is pretty close to you he says Tech program just make sure it is reconized by the governing body in your area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    93
    Wow and I'm not sure I want to do hvac for the rest of my working life. I was considering mechanical design.
    The school with the most hands on program will be the best.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    158
    Hey 30th t/a,
    I am kind of in your position right now. I started out doing Res than went the comm\Ind route as a designer. Did it for years. This past year I started giving a "one man show company" a hand when I had the time. I got a lot of satisfaction out of it and enjoyed working with my hands again.
    That being said, what's wrong with getting a job as a helper right now. These trade schools are a lot of money and after you gradaute you basically a helper anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4,340
    Quote Originally Posted by 30th t/a View Post
    Hello all
    I am new to the site and would appreciate some advice.
    I currently have a 2 year CAD degree and work full time as a Mechanical Designer. However I am seriously considering going back to school for HVAC. I don't think I want to do CAD work the rest of my working life.

    So my question is which type of school would benefit me more if I decide to pursue a degree in HVAC? A tech school or the local community college? The community college is 1/2 the cost of the tech school? (and 15 min. away vs an hour away for the tech school)

    The technical school looks to offer much better classes though. The technical school is 15 months for the A.A.S degree in hvac & The Community school is a full 2 years.

    Will employers look at a Community college differently than a Technical school?

    whats your opinions on this?

    thanks
    I pursued CAD myself. School was great, then I got a job and found myself doing repetitious drawings. The sittings infront of the computer all day killed me also.

    Ended up quitting. Started doing HVAC/R, until I figured out what I wanted to do. 16 years later I find myself getting into the controls end of field more. And I love it. It covers all the things I enjoy......problem solving, design, working in the field, and computers.

    I don't know about your situation. Around here, the college route has alot more focus on the electrical end of things, but also covers pretty much the same things as the votech program. I find that the biggest weakness with alot of mechanics, is the electrical end of things. Also, the college route looks alot better on paper, if you want to pursue the controls end of the field. And alot of the credits can goes towards other degrees, if you wanted to pursue them.

    I can't see either making or breaking you......as far as getting a job in HVAC/R.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Posts
    10
    ASCJ

    How did you end up getting into the control end of HVAC?
    It seems there are many directions a HVAC degree can take you.

    My uncle does HVAC and really enjoys it. He has been telling me for years to go back to school for it. He reccomends to get into the commercial end of it to make really good money.

    another reason im seriously considering going back for HVAC is that it will allow me to do side jobs and make extra money. Something I really cant do with CAD.

    thanks for the advice guys.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Posts
    10
    Also, Are there any classes in particular that you guys would highly recommend finding a school that teach these particular classes?

    The 2 trade schools list what will be learned on there website.
    From what you read below, Does one school seem to have better classes than the other?
    I know its hard to base how good the school is going by this but I want to make sure I get the classes that are most important.

    School "A" offers
    Basic Refrigeration
    Electricity and Troubleshooting
    Forced Air Heating Systems
    Hydronic Heating Systems
    Blue Print Reading
    Sheet Metal Applications
    Heat Pump Diagnostics
    Thermodynamics and Design
    Control System Analysis
    Air Conditioning Maintenance


    School "B" offers
    Walk in Coolers and Freezers
    Commercial Reach in Coolers and Freezers
    Ice Making Machines
    Central A/C Units
    Heat Pumps
    Standard and High Efficiency Furnaces
    2 Stage and Modulating Furnaces
    Oil and Electrical Furnaces
    Sheet Metal Brakes, Shears, and Roll Formers

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4,340
    Quote Originally Posted by 30th t/a View Post
    ASCJ

    How did you end up getting into the control end of HVAC?I pursued it. I found out it was mostly a commercial thing. Left a secure resi job for a light commercial job. Then used my light commercial experience, to land a commercial job that focused on larger facilities. Then used that experience to land a job with a commercial contractor that had a dedicated controls division.
    It seems there are many directions a HVAC degree can take you.There sure is......I just brought up the controls area, being the similiar CAD background.

    My uncle does HVAC and really enjoys it. He has been telling me for years to go back to school for it. He reccomends to get into the commercial end of it to make really good money.

    another reason im seriously considering going back for HVAC is that it will allow me to do side jobs and make extra money. Something I really cant do with CAD.

    thanks for the advice guys.
    The best money I ever made was residential and some side work. The least happy I have been was doing residential with some side work.

    If your looking at this field as a way to do some extra side work, then I would look at another trade that doesn't have the liability that we carry. Painting and paper hanging comes to mind.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Woodbridge Twp, NJ
    Posts
    1,308
    i would go with school B if youre looking to become a service tech. Escpecially ice machines. Many refer guys dont do them so its a good thing to learn.
    Every customer you take for granted today will be someone else's tomorrow.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    dealemd
    Posts
    62
    worked with a guy years ago who went to new castle school of trades,,, he was pretty sharp,, a good mix of on the job and class is best,, union apprenticeships are tight to get in right now due to economy, so find a contractor who will take you on and pay for classes. this is like med school, very long internship and lots of technical stuff, but the pay off in the end is very rewarding. i have never heard anyone who regretted a life of good pay for good work, and thats what it is,

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Posts
    10
    Ive been reading some very discouraging stuff about HVAC as a career such as lots of physical labor which will take its toll on the body after many years. People complaining about their joints & back. I honestly didn't realize the HVAC was that physical.

    Then recent Grad's were having alot of trouble finding work. They say most places wont even look at you unless you got 5 years of on the job experience. Once you graduate, starting pay is 10-14/hour. That pay might be OK if your 18-20, but not when your 34 like me trying to start a family and buy a house. Combine that with the newly added school loan and that makes things more tough.

    From what I gathered, finding a place looking for just a HVAC helper willing to work for entry level wages and learn the trade sounds the best way to go. Get your 5 years of OTJ training and you can start making good money without the school loan.

    New Castle School of Trades was one of the technical schools I was considering.
    Rosedale Tech was the other school.

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