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  1. #1

    Is trade school actually required?

    I'm currently a white collar IT guy, been doing it for about 4 years. I went to college and got a Bachelors degree in Comp Sci and got pretty good grades. The thing is I f*cking hate corporate life. Everything about it sucks, the pompous people, being stuck at a desk, the meetings, the fact that you are paid salary, HR, d* sucking, and all the BS. I've worked a lot of jobs while in college and HS including IT, becoming an ASE certified mechanic, and worked as a helper for a family member's plumbing company. I can learn any thing I put my mind to.

    Although plumbing isn't the trade I'd like to pursue I actually loved the physical work I've done in the past. It was enjoyable and I was good. I have friends who are in various trades and most of them say 95% of everything you learn is on the job. I'd rather not blow $10-20k on a trade school if possible. I understand HVAC theory and from my days as a mechanic fixed many of R-134a systems. I can get the materials to self study to pass the EPA tests. The thing is in my corporate field the HR people toss your resume in the trash can if you do not have a degree although 95% of stuff I learned in college has nothing to do with the job. Is it the same for HVAC? Will anyone even look at you for a helper position without some kind of trade school? Does the fact that I have an unrelated degree even mean something?

    I live in South Florida where there is a lot of work. Not trying to sound racist but there are also a lot of immigrants working as helpers who I highly doubt went to any kind of trade school.

    I understand that I will be taking a massive pay cut but I do not care. I want to start at the bottom, work hard, and learn a trade that I can eventually start a business in years down the road, not be a desk slave for 50 years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
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    348
    Unless you're in the perfect place at the perfect time with the right company. I doubt you'll get what you want without schooling. You will be a helper for years. You can try to join a union and be an apprentice. And first few years, your pay is going to suck. Better have a nice savings account to go back to


    We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.

  3. #3
    Don't you just get a helper job right out of trade school anyway? School or not, aren't you working for years with low pay as a helper? What will school give me? I assume helper and apprentice are the same thing.

    The union is not big in South Florida. Unions aren't big in Florida at all for that matter being a right to work state. My family member started out plumbing and learned OJT. After several years as a helper\apprentice his boss sent him to school to become a master plumber. Then a few years later he started his own. Granted he started in the 90s.

    Yes, I'm prepared for the financial hit. I have been saving for a while.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    3,514
    A couple of the guys I work with used to be auto mechanics and had no hvac/r experience before starting here. They both do really well.

    They both have worked here longer than I have, so I'm not sure what the learning curve was like at the beginning for them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    2,149
    No trade school is not required, if you ask me, you learn from your journeyman in the field, and the thing's you screwed up and were forced to find the answer yourself, instead of someone fixing it for you, that lesson will stick with you forever.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by garychance View Post
    No trade school is not required, if you ask me, you learn from your journeyman in the field, and the thing's you screwed up and were forced to find the answer yourself, instead of someone fixing it for you, that lesson will stick with you forever.
    Yeah, I know that's how it is in real life but will any employer even take you serious enough to hire you as a helper without a trade school. If you can't get your foot in the door you can't learn OJT.

    In corporate IT you can't even get an interview without a bachelors for most jobs. The HR woman just looks at the resume and goes "No Bachelors" and throws it out. You could be the guy who hacked the iPhone but it doesn't matter to some companies.

    I could always go to Sheridan Tech (it's a public trade school offered by the local community college) if I need a degree. The problem is it's a year long course and I wouldn't want to take off a year of work to go to school.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    477
    Amen, brutha!

    I'm a career switcher too, as I've probably mentioned two times today in other threads. I did a semester of classes at a community college to get some basic knowledge and my EPA card before landing a job as a helper. Three months later, I was kicked out into my own truck doing service calls and earned a couple raises already. If you can prove yourself, success will follow quickly.

    I suggest you take the same route. Don't fool yourself into thinking if you throw money at education, it's going to put you above everyone else or give you a better starting pay. That charade works in white collar world, not here. Your degree won't have a bearing on pay or where you'll start. If anything, it'll show you're smart and reliable, and HVAC companies are constantly looking for individuals with those basic characteristics.

    The best techs I know, and well paid, didn't spend a day in a classroom. You should take a couple classes to show you know modern refrigeration, electricity, and electrical code, but I wouldn't go to a private school and it seems like you already have a good foundation to start on.

    Start hustling door to door until someone takes you in. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    2,149
    Sure but your going to start out as a helper (with helper pay), which is rite not knowing anything. How old are you? this could make a difference.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,952
    Call or much better go to every company you can and plead your case. If your Hard working and mechanically inclined, many companies need helpers especially in the summer in South Florida. If your half as smart as you say and twice as persistent I think you could find something. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    2,149
    Quote Originally Posted by wanttodohvac View Post
    Yeah, I know that's how it is in real life but will any employer even take you serious enough to hire you as a helper without a trade school. If you can't get your foot in the door you can't learn OJT.

    In corporate IT you can't even get an interview without a bachelors for most jobs. The HR woman just looks at the resume and goes "No Bachelors" and throws it out. You could be the guy who hacked the iPhone but it doesn't matter to some companies.

    I could always go to Sheridan Tech (it's a public trade school offered by the local community college) if I need a degree. The problem is it's a year long course and I wouldn't want to take off a year of work to go to school.
    You can go to school at night, is it good, sure. Will it get you more money at start probably not, it will make you a better worker at the start, but your still green. The field is where you will learn what you need, the 1 year class is getting you the fundamental's.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by garychance View Post
    Sure but your going to start out as a helper (with helper pay), which is rite not knowing anything. How old are you? this could make a difference.
    Almost 30. Is age discrimination heavy in this field?

    School or no school, wouldn't I start out as a helper anyway.... with helper pay?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,149
    30 is not bad, but getting up there for just starting as a helper and green, i would think would be fine though, esp if you work hard and are a good listener/learner. (Your age may just tell them your out of the party day's) And all const trade's discriminate on age, esp if you know nothing of the trade, even when you do.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Richland Hills, Texas, United States
    Posts
    262
    You need to find a company that fits you. I've gotten many jobs that I was unqualified for on paper but I had the right personality and work ethic. Now I hire people myself and while school isn't nothing it's definitely not everything. I like hiring someone with aptitude who has basics but I can train to do things my way. Hope you can find the same. Good luck.


    James 4:10

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