Well, Lets see,
Originally Posted by WoodNbass
I hope 43 is not to old.
I just turned 44 today.
I am in student debt up to my eyeballs, and Currently in HVAC school fulltime.
I consider this my last shot at a meaningful trade.
Yes i have lived my life in the "other building trades".
I dont think our age, (early 40's) should be a bad thing. We have much to offer an employer.
lots of background experience. And we not to old to learn new tricks.
By the time i have my 5 years base experience in this trade, i will be 49 years old. thats still time enough to be good and viable in this field. (i plan on working until i am 60).
The money i make from this trade is all going toward a house boat, minus the expense of student loan repayment. so thats all down the road. i not even thinking of down the road
the work load of school is all i am living breathing and eating HVAC. As you will be as well if your going to school.
Go for it with gusto. Study hard. and give it your all.
being a carpenter, laborer, truck driver,ditch digger and all around handy man has been paying me the same $10-$12 hour for years now.
no reason starting the same wage as an apprentice in HVAC, a specialized trade, cant be beneficial in the long run. the wage can only go up from there.
I know there is money to be made in this trade. right now i try not to think about the dollars, I am in learning mode. not earning mode.
I study out of the same book as you. 7th edition.
Best of luck to ya.
Travel and work,
We hired two people about 5 years ago: one with 27, one was 40. The one who was 40 was a painter, carpenter, mechanic, worked for the railroad, previously. The one who was 27 was a security guard. Needless to say, we kept the one who was 40 and he's a great installer now. So go for it! I will say, however, since he was the youngest installer experience wise, whenever we had a crawl job we had our "old man crawl boy" on it...so be prepared for something like that.
With all your other skills you could even do apt maintenance work which requires a/c and elect also. Some of those jobs pay decent. Here they pay 40-60k a yr. I did that for awhile and had my own company also. Gave me time to build up customers. Another advantage was you always had time to expierment and if you accidentally screwed up it didn't cost you anything. As everyone knows some maintenance guys make mistakes.
I started HVAC school last summer at the age of 50. I recently turned 51. You're never too old. I'm enjoying school, learning a lot, and looking forward to a new career. I too, am a cabinet/countertop man from the past. I've built custom furniture, cabinets and countertops, including corian. I'm a carpenter by trade, and can hold my own in electrical and plumbing. I'm finding the transition into the HVAC field very easy and very comfortable.
lol, im 55, still doin what i love, i run our sales and install on the retro side, still go out and install one in an emergency, and the youngsters STILL cant keep up, because after 25 years in trade, im methodical, always think ahead, skilled and above all else, Love what I do, still drive my 1/2 ton toolbox, and at times fix a unit at a sales call instead of selling them, no charge as i keep a stock of old caps and such on my truck, i think the trade gets easier and as long as my body holds out, ill be good!. Good Luck to You!
Total Energy Management, inc
My cousin left a great manufacturing job at 45 to jump into HVAC 5 years ago. I'll give you the same advice I have him. Do it. But steer towards service. Avoid install work if you can. Very hard on the body and we, I'm 42, ain't as nimble as we once were. He is in a service truck for a reputable company making good money and loves it.
I think everyone has covered the fact that you aren't too old as long as you are motivated and fit, but your concern about making enough money hasn't been discussed. If you don't have money saved up, you will probably lose your house. Pay for entry level helpers is painfully low if you've ever made good money. If I still had my house, I would not have been able to make the notes. I've had to intentionally default on 2 credit cards in order to negotiate a stop on penalties and interest and get myself a decent payoff plan (wrecks your credit temporarily, but it was a decision that I knowingly walked into to get into this trade). Before you jump into this you seriously need to do the math to make sure you don't end up homeless with nothing but a bunch of free "Joe's AC & Heat" t-shirts to show for it. Plan on struggling for 1-3 years depending on your progression and work situation.
I started working in the trade when I was 44. Have been doing it 8 years, about to start my ninth summer. Started in residential, working in commercial for two years now. HVAC work is seasonal in many parts of the country. Commercial work is steadier than residential work. I'm getting 40 or more hours per week working commercial, I had some really slow mild weather weeks working residential. I wouldn't have been able to do it if I were the sole bread winner. The prospect of another year with a couple of mild weather weeks drove me to commercial. Many companys hire during the summer and fire to thin the herd during the fall.
Had a co-worker with 20 years experience go to work for a school system to gain stable income.
“I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
― Benjamin Franklin
From your perspective, age may be just a number.
Originally Posted by WoodNbass
I think you will have a heck of a time getting meaningful employment though.
In my second post I did rephrase my question as to HOW could I do this? No one else has really answered that part - not that I don't appreciate everybody's encouragement. The reality for me is that I am currently working to get my house sellable so that I might escape from the state where are currently live (because of politics). If and when that happens I'll have money in the bank and no mortgage. I'll just have to decide where I want to go to be a mid-40's apprentice for a couple years.
Originally Posted by cajunhvac75
Graduating from the HVAC program at Suffolk Comunity College this spring. I just turned 60 a few weeks ago. You're still a kid
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
It's never too late go get it and 5 years from now you will be a Journeyman..Good luck..
Originally Posted by WoodNbass
WoodnBass, you mentioned that you were an electrician? If so, you can count that time as experience, or atleast a lot of people in this business do count their time as electricians toward their experience. Truth is a lot of former electricians get into AC&R later in their careers. I've never worked with the union, but non union companies may even pay you the same you were making as an electrician. Around here there are three ways into AC&R, trade school, the military and electricians wanting to get into the business. Since most everything is electrical, except aborbtion, electricians aren't behind in this business.