I just entered the HVAC program at Union County Vocational and Technical School in Scotch Plains, NJ. The course cost a bit over five-thousand dollars which is about twenty-thousand less than Lincoln Tech in neighboring Union, NJ.

The program runs from April 4, 2013 until mid June, and then starts again in August and finishes in April of 2014. So during that ten-month period what should be available for me to learn? The skills I would like to be able to develop some level of competence would be servicing and troubleshooting refrigerators and cooling systems and HVAC-R system design; especially design, construction and installation of sheet-metal ducting. I have no issue with flexible ducts, but like the skill required to do metal fabrication.

In New Jersey we have a lot of sheet-metal fabrication shops, and I intend to use them once I am able have my own offices and workshops. I want to learn this part of the trade because knowing how to design an efficient and beautiful system demonstrates craftsmanship.
I am hoping to get some of this in class and shop work. I might try getting a job in a sheet-metal shop for a year or so to get really good at building ducts, but I don’t want to get away from the compressors, condensers and evaporators.

My particular interest is in maritime and offshore HVAC applications. Operating in remote areas in the oilfield requires being skilled at every aspect of a trade or profession.
Any information on this would be great.

A little about my background; I am retired from the government, have a BA in industrial safety, and my wife is a CPA. I want to start an HVAC company so I can have something I can teach my son and maybe daughter.

Can someone in the business tell me how valuable the formal training will be and how much will have to be learned in the field, and If I am taking the right approach to my goal?

I read on one site that a good school should have a list of companies waiting to hire their students. I also understand that being hired might mean 10 bucks an hour (or less) until you can start getting out there making a profit for the company.