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  1. #1

    Need Opinions! Older Guy considering HVAC

    Hi good people, I am a 55 year old california resident who is caught in the overall job layoffs / economic meltdown scenario. I am in a very serious situation in which I need to contemplate a new career; my current career in real estate, we don't need to talk about. Well, I sure am not going to law school! I need a BUNCH of informed people in this field who can give me advice. I am getting reading to plunk down 10 grand to go to Brownsen Tech here in Anaheim, I have toured the school and it looks impressive, lots and lots of units to learn on, and obviously it's all extremely blue collar. Well what did I expect. I am mechanically inclined, I have been a cable installer, I have worked in stifling hot attics, I know what I am getting into, but I am an older guy and college grad which is unusual but I don't know what the hell else to do, this seems more recession proof than other fields, and I am actually into meters and mechanical stuff, and electrical, I have a full set of tools, much computer background but you guys out there working, what is your take on ME getting into this? 9 months from now I could be set with some commercial training, obviously would like to minimize boiling hot attics in California in July and stick to commercial but if that's what it is, that's what it is. My understanding is that in the summer this field rocks and the demand for people is intense. Would you guys hire a 55 year old tech school grad? Maybe you'll put me in management who knows. Any and all responses appreciated, thanks.
    Last edited by Matt Schwartz; 02-20-2009 at 01:17 PM. Reason: oops

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    820
    holy crap!!! I went to brownson technical school myself, ive been meaning to go by there and visit don and bill. i went to their school and never regret it. best thing to do is to finish your schooling first and then apply, or start applying like a month before. Actually the school also starts faxing your resume and i was picked up like a week before getting my certificate. If i could do it all over again i would start with a supermarket refrigeration company, this is where all the work is at, i went with a commercial air conditioning company and it was great during the summer but come winter you were always broke and barely surviving. If i were you at your age i would not mess with the small penny pinching companies, apply with such companies as southwest, accutherm, source, market refrigeration inc, and a couple others i cant remember right now. these companies are large enough that there is plenty of work or advancement potential into management or whatever you like. if i was 55 i would problaly want to get into ems work, well good luck and stay motivated.
    I will take a bullet for my Veto LC tool bag!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ma
    Posts
    50
    only 10 grand for a hvac schooling? Wow I paid 26 grand for 18 months. I have been looking for work myself for the past few months in this field. I am still in school. I graduate in April of this year. All the places I have been to say thet are real slow or the just laid-off people so they are not hiring. I am hoping it picks up soon too but this field is definately not recession proof. I'd hire you as long as you had the training

  4. #4
    REFER GUY, I need to speak to you. PLEASE EMAIL me Email Removed

    Please read the forum rules, please put your email in your profile
    Last edited by HeyBob; 02-19-2009 at 07:04 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Schwartz View Post
    I am an older guy and college grad
    it means you know too much; I wouldn't mention the college if you're going to be a tech.

    Would you guys hire a 55 year old tech school grad?

    If you are where you are through no fault of your own, maybe.
    It would help if you appear to be in extremely good physical shape. An employer will worry about increased medical costs for you. Tell them you never smoked.

    Get a home improvement license as your backup plan.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,939
    Hey, why not?...your dead longer than your alive, so you better do it now.
    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    1,145
    Good luck! Tough position to find yourself in, I feel for you. I agree with reefer guy about going into controls work if possible. A lot less physically demanding and with the "green" mindset may be more in demand in the short term. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to any updates on your job status.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Yo.... Here!, I'm right here..
    Posts
    6,236

    Don't take this wrong but 25 should be the cut off point for apprentices

    Not for Nothing

    But

    For the most part HVAC is a young mans sport, when you're starting out that is, if you are 55 and it takes 5 yr to make a mechanic and 10 to make a good one. .You have no pay back.............
    .................................................. .................................................. ...........................

    It cost an employer probably 50 to 60 grand to train an apprentice from " I know nothing" to " I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I want top dollar........and all the Bene's".................
    So from an Employers point of view we'd be kicking dirt on you before you made a ROI or Payback.......another words from an employers point of view. No offense but .............It just Ain't worth it

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    177
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Schwartz View Post
    Hi good people, I am a 55 year old california resident who is caught in the overall job layoffs / economic meltdown scenario. I am in a very serious situation in which I need to contemplate a new career; my current career in real estate, we don't need to talk about. Well, I sure am not going to law school! I need a BUNCH of informed people in this field who can give me advice. I am getting reading to plunk down 10 grand to go to Brownsen Tech here in Anaheim, I have toured the school and it looks impressive, lots and lots of units to learn on, and obviously it's all extremely blue collar. Well what did I expect. I am mechanically inclined, I have been a cable installer, I have worked in stifling hot attics, I know what I am getting into, but I am an older guy and college grad which is unusual but I don't know what the hell else to do, this seems more recession proof than other fields, and I am actually into meters and mechanical stuff, and electrical, I have a full set of tools, much computer background but you guys out there working, what is your take on ME getting into this? 9 months from now I could be set with some commercial training, obviously would like to minimize boiling hot attics in California in July and stick to commercial but if that's what it is, that's what it is. My understanding is that in the summer this field rocks and the demand for people is intense. Would you guys hire a 55 year old tech school grad? Maybe you'll put me in management who knows. Any and all responses appreciated, thanks.
    Go to school,and try to get into the control side of the buisness and possibly go into sales depending on what your degree is in go to work for a manufactuer. I hope I am away from the heavy bull work when I am 55 years old.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    Taking a wider view,
    what physical, mental and financial resources do you have?
    Do you have a "support network"?
    Can you teach?
    Are you persuasive?
    What work will you absolutely not do?
    You might want to take the Myers-Briggs test; it's almost a freebie nowadays.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    18,533
    That depends.

    Do you already like to work with your hands? I'm not talking about sending out postcards to your farm area, or pulling up comps on the MLS. I mean tearing down engines, using a torch, wiring houses, cars, and motorcycles. Do you like physics? Can you fix a washing machine? If so, don't do tech school, but get a job as a helper and show the boss how quickly you can pick things up. Tech school is too expensive and too slow unless you are in great shape, look young, and have a natural aptitude and LOVE for physical work. If you don't already know why air gets cold in an AC unit, you probably should not go into it.

    With your background (I'm a KW licensee) you may do better in sales, as long as you have a sales background OTHER than real estate. IMHO, the agent is on the way out, and he/she will be replaced by minimum service, DIY, and buffet services for settlement, inspection, etc.

    The best advice I ever got about jobs is "do what you love."
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  12. #12

    RE HVAC school, training, new career

    Yes I work with my hands, have all the hand tools and power tools, I work on my car, I have been an electrician, a welder, a carpenter, A cable puller, fence post digger, dish installer, working in boiling hot attics doing cable crawls, yes I know what this is. How much of residential AC work is BOILING HOT ATTICS is all I want to know and DOING CRAWLS UNDER HOUSES / ATTICS? Can I just stick to commercial if I am trained commercial? Obviously depends on who is hiring me, and I am in great physical shape. Yes, if I could stay a residential real estate appraiser I would prefer that but that work does not exist anymore. What kind of REALLY HIGH END AC and REFRIGERATION work is there? What is the top, highest paying part of this business? Because that is where I want to go ASAP. Thanks

  13. #13
    The thing about AC work that interests me is that I live in Los Angeles and I already know people who need their house AC fixed! Summers here are boiling, all over the damn place! Isn't there awesome potential to do work on the side? Who HERE is doing their OWN AC side business, own full-business all day long, repair thing?

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