Here in NYC I went to technical school and was lucky to start with $15/hr as a helper and that was a union company. Non-union will pay you peanuts, somewhere about $10-$12/hr or even less, I know some guys who got not much more than minimum wage. It may not be the same out near San Francisco, but I doubt it would be higher.
Originally Posted by ReadyToLearn
Before you decide ask yourself the following:
Do you like working exposed to the elements, hot, cold, rain, etc.?
Do you have any mechanical experience? Can you use wrenches, drills, a sawzall, etc?
Are you prepared to spend a lot money on tools, work clothes/shoes and coffee for the guys you work for?
Money-wise if you think you will make anything close to what you are making now for at least the next 3 years (under the best of circumstances) I would think of another career path honestly.
San Fran's better for Apprentices. See what I mean by the HVACR trade getting shafted in the 638, as compared to the Pipe/Steamfitters and Pipe Welders. If HVACR Tech/Service Jm is $36.55/Hr, then a 1st year Apprentice is about $18.28/Hr. In S.F., the HVACR Tech/ Service Jm is about $47/Hr, then the 1st year Apprentice is about $23.50/Hr. Sure, a seasoned Tech can ask for more than scale in NYC, but what about everybody else? $15/Hr difference less to the HVACR Techs is a world apart.
Zero experience and zero knowledge will get you $10/hr if your lucky.
Be prepared for a lot of frustration, disappointment, studying, more frustration, stress, hard work, going bankrupt from buying tools.
Feeling you aren't getting paid what you're worth.
But if you make through all that the rewards are a skill set and knowledge that will guarantee you a job anywhere in the world.
I'm 2 years into this trade and have a long way to go before I can command high hourly rate. I do know that several senior techs in my company are on $45+ /hr.
But then again they've been with the company 15+ years and they're rock stars of all things hvac.