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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    44
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    I went to college for 2 years and it didnt prepare me for the field. I would work on units in college, then go home and get ready for my part-time job in best buy selling computers. Took me 2 years to find a job, and all i remembered was how to charge a unit and the refrigeration cycle, and general knowledge in math, biology, etc. (college was a great experience for me). If the interviewer would have asked me an ac question, i would have probably failed- one; because my profession up to that point was selling computers - thats what i knew, and thats what i did to pay the bills, and 2; all the important classes that you will actually use will be in the first half of college, some colleges will pack your later courses with engineering, designing and drafting classes that you might not need (but they will need to justify a 2 year college degree). So when you do finish college, you are exploding with all this information.

    I applied... only got one interview which i nailed by personality only and because of my college degree.

    When you actually learn .. is when you are doing both school and working in the trade. My new company sent me to union school and its all ringing a bell because it gets re-enforced on my work day. I notice that the majority of the time those that go to college then to the field first, or those that learn without school, are usually second to those that went to school and worked in the field at the same time (unfortunately not many are so lucky, companies have to sponsor you and pay for it, and sometimes someone with no school wouldnt even be considered for a job without someone getting them in, so it seems people with school get jobs, to be sent back to school as part of the job).

    So, either go to school to look attractive to employers (and maybe you can be better than me and absorb enough that you get decent enough to service and pm equipment out of college), or get yourself into a union by being persistent by adding contacts and getting favors, then get the school perks. Best thing would be to get into the field at any costs - school or no school.

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  3. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Ripley, WV
    Posts
    1,607
    Post Likes
    This is my advice: Either contact the local union about an apprenticeship or simply take a the adult class at your local votech school. My class only lasted a year, I worked days and went to school at night. When it was all said and done I went to work and June 15th will be 5 years in the trade.

  4. #16
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    5
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    Best field ever.

  5. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Phoenix Arizona
    Posts
    1,561
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    I started 16 years ago as a installer helper making $11.00/hr...I went to a one year trade school and graduated and got bumped to $21.00/hr...Now 14 years after trade school I make 90k and life is a little easier...I am also 38 now. If I had to start in My mid 30's I would definitely join the union. You won't turn out for 5 years, but at least the wages are competitive and the education is excellent...

    Btw I mean fitters Union in Az not the sheet metal Union...I am non Union now and have always been but the UA469 here has a lot of appeal if I weren't doing what I do now...I love my job it just really really hard sometimes..
    "If history repeats itself I am so getting a dinosaur"

  6. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Burleson, Texas, United States
    Posts
    384
    Post Likes
    The best place to get a start would find a job in the trade. Ductmonkey, helper, etc. I found that school made much more sense once I started working in the field. Classes are no substitute for wrench time.

  7. #19
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    11
    Post Likes
    if you work for a small company you get much better OTJ training IMO. You could start searching around...I know pretty much everywhere is hiring now.

  8. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    6
    Post Likes
    A lot of good advice already given. I'd like to give you an idea of what it's like. Never go any place that has air conditioning or heat. If your not careful dehydration will get you.
    It's feast or famine When working with a smaller company.
    My first tech job after the navy my boss told me this.
    All of my overtime pay I should put in savings account until the next season comes around. Summer your working all the hours you can handle. Then it cools off and the phones stop ringing. Then its preventative maintenance time. 40 hours will be lucky to come by.
    My wife of 24 years used to complain I worked too much, then complained I didn't work enough. Fortunately keeping all my overtime pay kept bills paid. She still does it today. But we get too go on vacation twice a year with it instead of saving it for diapers and formula.
    On learning the trade. Read, work, ask questions. Get paired up with someone that doesn't mind giving you there time in asking you qeustions.
    Giving you scenarios of things you will see regularly. Or
    Someone that has patience enough to let you actually do the work when time allows.
    There are many online videos you can watch.
    Every year supply houses put on training seminars, some better than others, but the company you go to work for should agree to send you to some of them. While there meet and get some contacts with the seasoned techs. The ones that won't mind you calling them when you get stumped.
    You will get stumped and can't reach fellow employee to help.
    Don't be afraid to call someone. They might have already spent all day figuring out what your looking at. And will be happy to share their knowledge of what they learned.

    Oh you can learn from anyone. No matter how long they have been doing this work. You never know what they have seen you havnt.

    To the best parts of our work. You get to be the hero on peoples special events when it's hotter inside than out. There's dozens of relatives and friends at there house you show up and have them cooled off in no time saving the event.
    You also get to tell them there is no hope and it be a couple days and cost a fortune.

    I've been doing this work all my life. My old man started his company when I was nine. It is still growing and something new to learn.
    It's mostly repetitive but each call is new. Customers are all different. You will get to know some over the years doing maintenance on their units.
    Enjoy yourself and drink plenty of water.

  9. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    8
    Post Likes
    It helps to know someone whether that be family friend or otherwise. Keeping putting your name out there and you'll find something!

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