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  1. #1

    New, possible HVAC student.

    Hello. I live in MI and I have been working at a supermarket since HS. Tried four year college for a little while but lacked direction. Didn't know what to major in. I began studying up on skilled trades and am considering HVAC as a possible career. Currently debating this versus electrical. Will go to community college next year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    About 80% of service calls in hvac are electrical problems. In hvac you have to be a jack of all trades. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get electrical degree then if still interested in hvac learn that too. You have to have a firm base knowledge of electrical and refrigeration to be a good hvac tech along with all other construction trades. Best of luck to you

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    west burbs,il

    If you decide on hvac pay attention in class and don't get caught up in the bulls??t gossip of fellow students. 70% percent of my class was there just for a piece of paper and a 10 grand debt. Good luck to you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    bedford ind
    Welcome to the site. Either trade will do you well if you apply yourself. It can be rough for the first two or three years in the trade, but after that it should pick up speed and be a lot more enjoyable. Develop good work and study habits.

  5. #5
    I've browsed on here and on the internet on HVAC careers somewhat. In general I've seen different people at different poles responding to others in the situation as me.

    Some people say HVAC is the greatest thing on Earth and you will be handed a job on a silver platter when you graduate from community college and be making big money instantaneously.

    Some people say HVAC is misery and tell tales of woe of how hard it is to get a foot in the door and how miserable a job it is.

    I'm guessing it is somewhere in between the two. There is a real deficit in skilled trades coming up, particularly in HVAC. A key problem is many companies want experience before hiring somebody which is tough as a rookie, so that is a downside. However with such a shortage of skilled trades sooner or later companies will have to hire rookies. This industry is supposed to grow 33% in the next ten years. I don't expect to make big bucks right away or be handed a job (though my community college has a lifetime job placement service) but I also think those who say how bad it is are wrong. I understand HVAC is not easy and you will work long hours etc. and I understand many who consider it want a quick buck without realizing how much work is involved. I just want somebody to give me a balanced approach.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    bedford ind
    Preparation is still the key to success. Good study habits and work ethic is crucial. Have and maintain a good attitude. Don't subscribe to a me first or entitlement attitude. Always show up early and be near the last to leave. Network. Be familiar to those in the trade. Represent the trade if in school or at work, with pride and dignity.

    Understand you don't start out at the top. And YOU don't tell them when YOU are moving up. When you SHOW them you are ready, they will test you and eventually make the decision.

    I have a son-in-law who is a 4th year apprentice in an electrical union. He has worked hard, long hours for 4 years. There was a time he literally camped out in a tent in eastern Kentucky, while he was stationed on a job out of town. He didn't have the money for a motel.

    I can remember watching the news as the tornado and storm warnings for his area were on the tv. I called him and could hear the storm on the phone. He did this for quite some time, driving home on weekends. He fished and ate at his camp site in the , I think it was the daniel boone or Davy crocket state park.

    Now-a-days they are grooming him for a leadership position in the union. They are enrolling him in classes that few journeymen are invited to take. He has paid his dues and is doing well. He will also graduate at the top of his class or right at it.

    The point is, if you want it bad enough, you will pay the price. If you spend too much time counting the cost, you will never do it.

  7. #7
    So what is the best way to get started. I am guessing it is to enroll in a local community college.

    To the best of my knowledge there are different specialties within HVAC. Either commerical or residential or either heating, cooling, or refrigeration. Is this true? Do you end up working in a specific specialty or not?

    In general I notice the main way to become an HVAC is as followed.

    Take community college course (or get hired as an apprentice, increasingly rare as many do not wish to pay for on the job training) and obtain either certificate or associates. My cc has an associates available and I have many basic college level classes I already took (sociology, history, etc.) that I can apply toward this. I am wondering which would be best.

    Get EPA certified. You can take a test for this. My community college offers it to those who graduate.

    Get hired, usually at a lower training wage (maybe 10-12hr I'm guessing).

    You usually start out as an installer for the first couple years.

    Then you move up to being a maintenence person. This is a higher pay scale.

    Am I right?

    How hard is it to find a job these days? How do you convince a company to take you on as a newbie even with a college degree if many want 2-5 work experience?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    bedford ind
    We don't know what your financial situation is. Do you live with your parents? Are you married? Is there other income in the house? is there a union hall in driving distance?

    Are there very many hvac companies in your area? Any large companies, facilities with hvac staff ?

    Lots os things not known here.

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