Considering a career in HVAC
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  1. #1

    Question Considering a career in HVAC

    Hello! I'm a 26 year old in Indiana that's tired of dead end factory jobs. I'm ready for a career. Something that's a bit more fulfilling and engaging than taping boxes for ten hours a day. I've wanted to attend college for a long time, but I had kids at an early age and I've thrown that around as an excuse. However I've come to realize that college may be more possible than I thought due to grants and student aid programs that I'm eligible for. I've been researching different programs trying to find the one that's right for me.

    One of the programs I'm considering is a two year HVAC program from Ivy Tech. As I mentioned, I have kids and a family to raise. Adding college classes on top of everything I already have on my plate will be a big undertaking so I want to invest my time wisely. I need to pursue something practical and realistic. I know far too many people with degrees that they don't use. Most of what I've read seems to suggest that the majority of graduates from this HVAC program end up with decent paying related jobs right out of college. Is this just rhetoric or are the prospects for this field really that good?

    I'm just looking for general advice from people in the field to help me come to a decision. I'm really more of a computer nerd than a mechanical and carpentry kind of guy, but I'm a hard worker and I'm certain I can learn the trade.

    -Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mid-Mo
    Posts
    3,587
    There are places for computer needs in the trade. Almost all of the newer equipment has a whole lot of electronics and modern buildings have more computer based controls than you can possibly imagine.

    As far as the trade goes, like anything it has its good things and bad things. Entry level jobs don't pay well, but after you pay your dues you'll earn a decent living. Also the work is very fulfilling.

    The work is hard and physical. You at the mercy of the elements most of your day.

    There's a lot more but I feel like I'm rambling, so it's someone else's turn!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,508
    Why don't you start out with a computer class for cheap and at your own pace so you know what you are in for and there is not a lot of risk.
    Trying not to be a Hack.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    289
    You can get a networking degree and go into automated controls. Look at some job descriptions, find one you think you would be comfortable doing and look at the requirements.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    N.W.Indiana
    Posts
    59
    Take a couple of night classes to see if it something you really want to do. I did just that at the age of 35 and had some people say it was too late to start a new career. Well 27 years later I am doing very well and plan on working in this field a few more years.
    If I was you, focus on the controls end and truly grasp the science of this thing we call HVAC. This is a electrical/mechanical field so you can't change that. There's alot to know but if your good you can make a good living. Plus the information you learn can branch out into other fields.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    379
    I started going to school to learn about the trade when I was 28. At that time, I felt like you do, working at deadend jobs that were hard to get up and go to in the morning. I'm 43 now and still feel that it was the right move for me. This job is very rewarding. When you can fix something that was broke and help people at the same time. You go home at the end of the day with a since of accomplishment and pride. I still feel that way. One of the greatest things about this trade is that, there is always more to learn. Everything is constantly changing and you have to move with the times or get left behind. However, this kind of work is not for everyone. It demands a lot of knowledge, skill, and some good old fashion hard work to be successful. So I would ease into it and make sure that its for you. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,103
    Quote Originally Posted by jabackf View Post
    Most of what I've read seems to suggest that the majority of graduates from this HVAC program end up with decent paying related jobs right out of college. Is this just rhetoric or are the prospects for this field really that good?
    Define "decent"? If you're making and supporting your family with $7.25/hr. job now, then $10-12/hr. ought to be "decent" to start, right? Even if you are entering the trade right out of a tech. school or some other form of vocational training, as far as the job market is concerned, you're still unexperienced and unskilled. This puts you only slightly ahead of someone who is completely green as you've had an introduction to the concepts involved in HVAC. There is truth in the statement that the long-term earning prospects are good. A mid-level tech. where I work earns $30-35/hr, but it takes 7-10 years for someone to get trained up to this level with incremental pay increases and increased responsibility all along the way. No one starts out here. The starting wages are very paltry.

    Quote Originally Posted by jabackf View Post
    I'm just looking for general advice from people in the field to help me come to a decision. I'm really more of a computer nerd than a mechanical and carpentry kind of guy, but I'm a hard worker and I'm certain I can learn the trade.
    The last thing the trades need are more people who want to finger their iGadgets and tap at a computer or click a mouse, while earning $xxxk annual salary. What we need right now are people with a high technical aptitude like you probably have, but also a cultivated mechanical aptitude and a willingness to learn and work. If you successfully do minor service on your own vehicles or repairs around your home, you probably have a fair shot of being successful in this field.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

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