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  1. #1
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    Confused A degree which could aid in HVAC? Please read

    Currently attending a 12 month HVAC-R program in the evenings at my local trade school/community college. My dad started a HVAC company in January , so I am learning the trade. I have an Associate Degree in General Studies and 90 or so random credits towards my bachelors. Is this any college curriculum that would aid me as a HVAC tech, I have researched this time and again. Unfortunately, skills such as electrical, housing diagrams, etc are not offered in colleges, and therefore makes transferring my credits worthless. I left school because "college is a joke" meaning 90% of college majors are non technical and do not lead to good career jobs in my opinion. I am on the brink of just going to another school that offers HVAC in the mornings and taking HVAC at night at my original tech school. This would be double exposure and help me become a better technician. This would be fine ,but I still feel like I wasted thousands of dollars and my college should fo to something....Having our own LLC things I learned in college such as time management, customer service skills do help me deal with customers and expand our marketing online. I guess I am deciding whether to leave this degree behind entirely for HVAC which is providing me a valuable skill in a expanding field. I feel our business which is just my dad and I could be more profitable in the years to come than this year as we have already expanded with a company website, trucks etc.

    I guess I am looking for advice from some experienced techs, some who may own there own business, maybe some who have been a similar dilemma. I know this isn't the right place to post, but this is the most active, and I post on this site alot.

  2. #2
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    It really depends on what your long term goals are. First of all you need to develop the knowledge and skills you will need to become a tech. Classroom instruction and on the job training will get you there. Beyond that, if you plan on being a business owner then a construction management, business degree or mechanical engineering degree would help you advance to the next level and give you more credibility amongst the professional snobs.
    I have 2 AS degrees. One in HVAC&R and the other in electronics. Even with 20 years experience and 2 associate degrees I don't qualify for a lot of positions that a kid right out of college with a bachelors degree would qualify for. So if you plan to advance in the HVAC field and become a engineering or project manager, then a bachelors degree would be beneficial.
    If you just want to be a really good tech, then develop your electrical troubleshooting skills and always seek ways to learn more and continually improve. By alway striving to be the best, is how you become successful at what ever profession you choose.

  3. #3
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    Proffesional snobs- now that is funny.
    Sto just do it, as time goes on you will forget about school because you will too busy spending your money.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by air1 View Post
    It really depends on what your long term goals are. First of all you need to develop the knowledge and skills you will need to become a tech. Classroom instruction and on the job training will get you there. Beyond that, if you plan on being a business owner then a construction management, business degree or mechanical engineering degree would help you advance to the next level and give you more credibility amongst the professional snobs.
    I have 2 AS degrees. One in HVAC&R and the other in electronics. Even with 20 years experience and 2 associate degrees I don't qualify for a lot of positions that a kid right out of college with a bachelors degree would qualify for. So if you plan to advance in the HVAC field and become a engineering or project manager, then a bachelors degree would be beneficial.
    If you just want to be a really good tech, then develop your electrical troubleshooting skills and always seek ways to learn more and continually improve. By alway striving to be the best, is how you become successful at what ever profession you choose.
    My technical school offers courses in management and business ,but of course there "continuing education requirements" and are not official college credits toward a bachelor. I could change my college major to business, but then I am spending $10,000 more on school ,but I could have just spent $1000 at the tech school and get educated. Once again, I guess it comes down to what you can prove on paper as opposed to overall knowledge and know how. I would love to stay in the family business and grow it to where I can make a comfortable living just working in the summer. How ever doing the slow months in HVAC it would be nice to have another skill, hence where my college credits come into mind. my credits are not in a technical field, and therefore switching to something like engineering would be equivalent to starting college over. I wish I knew of a local college which would except my 90 credits and allow me to take another 30 in HVAC and get a bachelors in HVAC or Engineering, unfortunately there isn't one. I guess I want to grow this business ,but have something to fall back on if things fail. I plan on getting my journeyman license in 1-2 years so I guess I will be prepared for what the world throws at me. Thanks for the helpful reply

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by toocoolforschool View Post
    Proffesional snobs- now that is funny.
    Sto just do it, as time goes on you will forget about school because you will too busy spending your money.
    Thanks man your response watching your cool username. I feel if I study hard and continue working I can make alot of money in this field, but can one expect to make $80,000+ a year just in the summers alone. I guess its all about volume, but unless your profiting at the expense of employee's there only so many calls a 1 or 2 man team can run. Like I said the company is just me and my dad, and I am earning at an apprentice rate, but I am thinking long term. Is it realistic to think working summer alone will be enough to suffice. I guess that is the big question. There are so many underlying factors, whether its a hott summer, cost of parts n gas, and if we accrue any more overhead. But, like we anticipate the calls may be there when its hott, but its going to be more than we can handle, and we will lose the calls once its cools up. There is only a 3-4 month window... Thanks too cool, appreciate the feedback, keep it coming!

  6. #6
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    My family business when I was a kid was a trucking business...Had my chauffers license at 18 and driving trucks for money after that....was making killer money for an 18yr old but times change (you can't get the license or insurance nowadays at 18)

    Started my own hvac company and compared it to the trucking business...year 1-would make more driving a truck...year 2 would make more driving a truck...year 3-making as much as driving a truck....year 4- why did I drive a truck?

    On the education side...have a BSME....Year 1 making as much as an Engineer....year 2 making as much as a Mech Engr. with 4 years in....Year 3- republican run companies have sold us out to china I am making more than a chinese engineer....and my wife as a banking software programmer...her job went to india...I still make more than her after paying for her school and go back to school for 2 years and become an RN.

    Just my experience....

    The BSME degree didn't really help me other than Manual J, D , S and all the theory of operation. I have a background (trucking company) with mechanical repair skills most guys don't have. (was changing oil and replacing head gaskets since I was 12)
    Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

    Give a man a capacitor, doesn't know what to do. Teach a man to install it, now he knows everything.

  7. #7
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    Mechanical Engineering jobs certainly don't pay what they used to. The republican house just passed a bill to allow 50,000 more high tech visa so that high tech companies can import cheap labor and lower high tech labor across the board. So your point is well taken beshvac. But still, a BSME degree along with real world experience should make you a valuable asset to an employer. Just not as valuable as it used to be.
    Sorry to hijack your thread sto.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    My family business when I was a kid was a trucking business...Had my chauffers license at 18 and driving trucks for money after that....was making killer money for an 18yr old but times change (you can't get the license or insurance nowadays at 18)

    Started my own hvac company and compared it to the trucking business...year 1-would make more driving a truck...year 2 would make more driving a truck...year 3-making as much as driving a truck....year 4- why did I drive a truck?

    On the education side...have a BSME....Year 1 making as much as an Engineer....year 2 making as much as a Mech Engr. with 4 years in....Year 3- republican run companies have sold us out to china I am making more than a chinese engineer....and my wife as a banking software programmer...her job went to india...I still make more than her after paying for her school and go back to school for 2 years and become an RN.

    Just my experience....

    The BSME degree didn't really help me other than Manual J, D , S and all the theory of operation. I have a background (trucking company) with mechanical repair skills most guys don't have. (was changing oil and replacing head gaskets since I was 12)
    You have a degree in Mechanical Engineering? So are you working for another company and designing HVAC systems? You surely aren't out in the field replacing A coils, right? So you don't have your HVAC business anymore? A little confused, but a great post, I would like to know more? Where did you get your schooling for HVAC? Did BSME help you in HVAC? you just said it helped you with theory and manual j, if that is the case then it won't help your earnings in HVAC right?, at least not in the short term?

    I would appreciate more details? Thanks alot
    I feel the BSME is extremely broad and don't see how it would HVAC very much? And with my own business having that degree would be more of a novelty so I am asking you does it help you with your own business?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by air1 View Post
    Mechanical Engineering jobs certainly don't pay what they used to. The republican house just passed a bill to allow 50,000 more high tech visa so that high tech companies can import cheap labor and lower high tech labor across the board. So your point is well taken beshvac. But still, a BSME degree along with real world experience should make you a valuable asset to an employer. Just not as valuable as it used to be.
    Sorry to hijack your thread sto.
    Its all good air1, just unsure how ME helps a HVAC tech besides with theory, HVAC engineering and development is different entirely.

  10. #10
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    No school other than hard knocks for hvac....however from my background I can fix anything

    And yes I am out in the field replacing A coils...however..with my background every estimate is a whole house approach looking at the thermal envelope. (I sub out the insulation work....I hate itching...and have never gotten used to it)

    I have my own company. BSME was very helpful taking marketing my company from competitor with "I have been doin this for 15 years and you need 2 outlets in this room....in contrast to "I have done the load calculation and you need 200 cfm with 2 4x12 outlets to provide the throw necessary to mix the air in the room."

    Physics (almost the same as ME) is great for a background in this industry. You can take classes on HVAC in theory and design. There are lots of guys on this site that don't have a degree, but have studied enough to talk in mathmatics and not "have been doin this for 20years argument......"

    HOWEVER, YOU WILL LOSE jobs to the less mathematically inclined....(lost one last month with an engineer homeowner...usually don't lose those...but the other company was giving him a bigger furnace and AC and it was a Trane instead of Carrier...Oversized his furnace by 300% and put an AC in that was 400sqft per ton....) You also have to SELL.
    Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

    Give a man a capacitor, doesn't know what to do. Teach a man to install it, now he knows everything.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sto2299001 View Post
    Its all good air1, just unsure how ME helps a HVAC tech besides with theory, HVAC engineering and development is different entirely.
    A ME degree would be of very little help and a tech. I would give you a better understanding of thermodynamics and fluids (air is a fluid) which would be helpful but you don't need a ME degree to learn it. You should be able learn enough in a HVAC trade school to do your job.
    If you wanted to go to work for an engineering firm or a large construction firm as a project manager, then a ME degree would be helpful. If you look at the want adds for professional or managerial positions in the construction industry, they almost alway require a BS degree.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by air1 View Post
    A ME degree would be of very little help and a tech. I would give you a better understanding of thermodynamics and fluids (air is a fluid) which would be helpful but you don't need a ME degree to learn it. You should be able learn enough in a HVAC trade school to do your job.
    If you wanted to go to work for an engineering firm or a large construction firm as a project manager, then a ME degree would be helpful. If you look at the want adds for professional or managerial positions in the construction industry, they almost alway require a BS degree.
    BS

    After hiring trade school grad,s they don't know ANYTHING.
    Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

    Give a man a capacitor, doesn't know what to do. Teach a man to install it, now he knows everything.

  13. #13
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    Depends on the grad. If you have a electro/mechanical background you should be able to transition into the trade and hit the ground running. But your right, there is no substitute for experience.

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