Positive is that you get to fix things, it's a constant learning experience, not going to the same place everyday, short hours, satisfaction of a job well done if you are so inclined, its fun at times. Negatives are, long hours, knee pain, back pain, pain in general if you don't take care of yourself, mostly lower pay until you can prove yourself out in the field, going different place every day, etc. Really it is all that you personally make of it. If you enjoy fixing things and are mechanically inclined, then this just might be the career for you.
What are the positive things and negative things about this field. Should I go this route? If so, what are some tips?
Here are some tips:
1.Wear knee pads
2. Study everyday to learn all you can
3. Field experience is invaluable
4. Stay in good physical shape
5. Pay extreme attention to detail to understand every part of every machine
6. Be very prepared to deal with people who are downgrading, insulting, perverted, and cheap. These people will test you and try to break but do not let them because then they win
Your the only one who can answer if its rite for you. A positive for me may be a negative for you. But here is some reality to chew on.
1: unstable hrs, at least the first few years. You may work 60-70hrs one week and 12 the next.
2: you will be outside. Hot, cold, raining, snowing, day, night.
3: you will have to deal with people. Most are normal and easy to work with. Some are not. Some are REALLY not
4: you will make moderate wages to start but money will get better with time and will turn into a good living
5: you will be pressured. Stress is part of the job. Not all the time but sometimes.
6: you will have to study and learn continuously. You will never know everything you need to know
7: you will get dirty, cut, shocked, burned, pinched, smashed, and bathed in insulation. Pain is part of the job.
8: you will see, smell, and hear things that will make you wanna throw up.
9: you will either love it or hate it.
I've been in this industry since 1989 and I have mixed feeling about whether I should have pursued this career. I've always been electro-mechanically inclined so the work was well suited for my skill set. So the technical nature of the industry has been very rewarding. So if your technically inclined and enjoy solving problems you can get a lot of satisfaction from the job. But, the industry has many different areas of specialization with some having better work environment than others. About 60% of the work I've done has been in the residential sector. The residential sector has probably the worst work environment of all the areas of HVAC&R. You'll be confined to crawl spaces, attics, and storage closets and if your lucky, a garage. And the residential sector has a surplus of marginally skilled technicians and hacks that keep the wages low.
If I had to do it over again and if I stayed in HVAC&R, I would get into large equipment repair. Large equipment technicians generally are union represented and receive good training, are higher paid, and receive good benefits. So if you can get in with a company that does that type of work, I would say yes, HVAC&R would be a good career choice. But if you are going into residential, well lets just say I probably would have made a different choice.
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
"Don't argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". --Mark Twain http://www.campbellmechanical.com
I can't really agree with the previous 2 posts. Not that I like or recommend a career in residential. In a lot of markets that's simply where you are going to start. Either little or no industrial work in the area. I think it's a good place to start and if you like it stay there if not you have gotten some experience and can take the next step up into refrigeration or light commercial. Hard to jump into commercial/industrial service or commercial refrigeration as a tech. Most apprentiships will have you doing install or fab work and that can be a black hole from which you may never escape. If you have the aptitude a couple years in residential service will show it and doors will open to move up quickly.