I am a 2 year residential service tech and want to graduate to become a commercial apprentice. However all the commercial companies I talk to want me to become a parts runner first for at least a year, then if I have talent bump me into apprenticeship position. I have been studying the carrier service manuals for chillers and boilers that I have and all the info in my book: Modern refrigeration and air conditioning. However I have very little hands on experience on chillers or boilers. No public community colleges I know off teach or give classes in these subjects. So if I have to become a parts runner, how do I survive on $11/hr? How do I pay my rent? Is there an easier solution? Any way to become an apprentice without doing the **** work? Basically, how do I get hands experience without joining a company? Can I get hands on experience say at a community college that any of you guys know of? I prefer to stay away from private colleges, since I will end owing them $6,000 in the end, which unfortunately I can't afford at this moment. Any advice given is appreciated. Thanks.
Have you tried, Trane, York, Carrier, or McQuay?
All of these companies have service groups.
Sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forwards.
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask any questions is a fool forever.
sorry about that. it really does suck but most commercial companies are going to give you crap jobs for a while. maybe a little more residential to boost your knowledge and credibility. start where you are at right now and build a portfolio...jobs you have done, schooling, pictures, real head scratchers that you fixed right away, etc. make sure that you network as much as possible. go to wholesale lunches and find owners to talk with, go to industry meetings that affect the owners/managers and talk with them...show them that you are serious about commercial work. good luck!
Someday, I hope to be just as brave as Harry Stamper.
I am old and have been doing commercial work 4 a long time. It is much harder now. Our shop usually hires a guy as a truck driver 4 a while and then gets him into the apprent program. All of our current apprent have a degree in hvac, votec and previous resid experience. Here in KC Trane and Mcquay are not union and a little easier to get on. Several of our guys got their start on chillers at property management companies."commercial ofcourse" RSES is a great way to learn until then. good luck Frank
You say that you are a 2 year residential Tech. Get hired on with a company that does both Commercial and Residential HVAC/R work. Maybe a Refrigeration contractor. This is how I started in the trade.
Do your time with that company and move up the ladder to commercial Tech. It will take time. You might have to work for 10-12 bucks an hour for a while. That's just the way it is. Nobody is going to give you $20 bucks an hour to start right out of school.
alpha has it right
Getting with a company that does both residential and commercial might be the most efficient way to make the transition.
As far as hands on is concerned, you are not going to get it at a community college or tech school. Although having actual equipment in front of you along with a book and an instructor is a better way to learn, "hands on" training and "hands on" experience are two very different things.
If you must stay in residential for financial reasons, consider this:
1. Your confidence as a tech in the field will continue to grow.
2.Your powers of analysis will continue to develop, and they can be applied to whatever is in your future.
3. Your customer skills will further develop. This is most important in commercial work, as one customer can reflect a far greater percentage of the customer base than residential.
One offending remark, one technical screw up, one breach of confidential information, can translate into a far greater financial loss for the commercial firm and in some cases may even close the doors. In residential you may simply lose one customer out of a million potential customers, which still is not good, but not anywhere near as bad.
This is why any commercial business owner who is worth YOUR livelihood, will be wise enough to check out your poise, character, personal habits, record keeping ability,and honesty, in the realm of the streets and roads of the municipality - where the traffic cop is your supervisor and your screw ups are covered by vehicle insurance.
It is better to check a man out there, than on the field with a customer where the losses may be far greater.
Personally I'd take the truck driving position, and be the best, most concientious, most polite (no popping the finger,even when they deserve it),truckdriver the world has ever seen.
I'd study the parts that I was delivering and read the technical sheets they come with on my lunch break.
I'd keep my eyes open at the sites I was delivering to.
I'd be aware that the best way to enter a workforce is to at first be a help to the techs that I will be working along with, instead of an upstart that they will probably have to mop up after.
Sometimes the best test of a man's character (what he will or will not do when he thinks nobody who counts is looking) is on the DC beltway at five in the evening on a Friday before a three day weekend... in the rain...and out of cigarettes.
Ditchdigging...a job where you can start at the top.
So I'm at the end of my tether.
And Good Luck.
"Iron sharpeneth iron..."
Someday, I hope to be just as brave as Harry Stamper.