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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4

    Newb with Questions

    Hi. I've been reading for months, finally joined last month. Now as time for spring course selection comes up I have some questions regarding my best course of action.

    From what I've read here, even with either certs or an associates I will still be hired on as a 'helper' by non union shops and the union will have me start all over again as well trade/payroll wise. That said, would the best course of action be to look into the Helper type positions with the national chains here in my area and go to school part-time/one or two classes at a time while I learn the craft, or continue with school full time and get it out of the way {I have a living stipend from the GI Bill but it doesn't actually cover living expenses} then look for a helper type position?

    Also, because my wife is a Dave Ramsey follower and likes to plan our budget down to the last dime, what would I be looking at in terms of starting wages in a 'helper' position in the Indiana and/or North Carolina markets? *rough estimate of course* Indiana is our current state of residence but my wife's career field is much more open and thriving far better in North Carolina than here, even in the current economy.
    Last edited by asmith33; 10-03-2009 at 08:49 PM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Muskegon, Mi.
    Posts
    425
    I started out in NC as a helper/gopher. Started at 5.25 an hour. That was a long time ago and I was real green. I suspect, in today's times, a person could expect 12 to 16 starting pay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    19,566
    Quote Originally Posted by asmith33 View Post
    Hi. I've been reading for months, finally joined last month. Now as time for spring course selection comes up I have some questions regarding my best course of action.

    From what I've read here, even with either certs or an associates I will still be hired on as a 'helper' by non union shops and the union will have me start all over again as well trade/payroll wise. That said, would the best course of action be to look into the Helper type positions with the national chains here in my area and go to school part-time/one or two classes at a time while I learn the craft, or continue with school full time and get it out of the way {I have a living stipend from the GI Bill but it doesn't actually cover living expenses} then look for a helper type position?

    Also, because my wife is a Dave Ramsey follower and likes to plan our budget down to the last dime, what would I be looking at in terms of starting wages in a 'helper' position in the Indiana and/or North Carolina markets? *rough estimate of course* Indiana is our current state of residence but my wife's career field is much more open and thriving far better in North Carolina than here, even in the current economy.

    Dave is a great guy, but there are some holes in his reality. He says that you should not work to have a good FICO score, for example. In fact, not everyone can work with a bank that does their own underwriting, and FICO affects how much you pay for mortgages and insurance, too. A budget is a GREAT idea, and so is living within your means. OK, I'll get down off my Ramsey soap box. It IS good to be debt free, though. And no, I have not called Dave to yell on the radio!

    First, decide where you will be living. Then, compare your GI benefit, your family budget, and the idea of taking one or two classes at night while you work as a helper in the daytime. There are too many variables for any of us to give you a concrete answer.

    Let us know what decision is made, and why. Doing so may help someone else.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4
    Here in Indiana my stipend will be $637.70/month if I stay in my current city, and $781/month if we can find housing in the south central part of the state where the other HVAC program is located. If I were to transfer to the coast, it would be $725 attending Coastal Carolina Community College, which is the school closest to the facility my wife would be working in.

    I plan to schedule/try to schedule a time to meet with the advisor at both schools here in Indiana to get their take, but their job is to sell classes as much as it is to teach them, job security being the key factor for alot of/most people these days. I have had brief discussions with other former service members as well as current classmates in the industry in our area and they say the starting wages in the shops they work in is between $8.50-$12/hr depending on which person is talking. So it would still be more money coming in that what I am getting from my stipend.

    I evidently mis-phrased my question. What I am wondering is, for those of you who are involved in the hiring & training processes, which would make me more marketable, knowing nothing HVAC specific but being mechanically inclined as well as middle aged with a family {I've read elsewhere here that alot of you prefer guys with a family or at least past the partying all night stage} or having a 2 year degree with little to no hands-on experience in the real world?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    19,566
    Some guys will want to take you as a blank slate and train you.

    What was your service job? Can you provide some support for the idea that you have mechanical aptitude, like servicing helos or Abrams tanks?
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4
    To some extent I wish I had chosen a different MOS. As it was I was a cannon crew member, started and finished with 155 howitzers, did a few years with MLRS in the middle there. So not alot of civilian translation job wise. When the focus of your military training was blowing stuff up, all of the related skills like map reading, doing minor repairs on trucks, equipment and storage facilities, public relations in a war zone, etc kind of get overlooked.

    AFA proving aptitude, everything in the last 15 years has been situation specific, such as repairing minor problems/defaulting parts on robots and automated lines in an automotive manufacturing paint facility, building and repairing storage items in the same plant, repairs on the military side as listed above, fixing minor issues around the house/with the vehicles. Prior to that I did a year of voc-tech at my high school doing auto body/repair on vehicles that are nearly antique now but were new and hot then.

  7. #7
    The more HVAC training the better. 1. It will show you are serious about making this trade your career and not a temp job. 2. It will help you go from helper to tech faster, as you will be less likely to be stuck as low man on an install team, etc.
    Get a job and be the first one in and the last one out, and be neat and polite.
    Also, slow down, we eliminate alot of people at the door who have too many points to be insurable to drive our trucks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by asmith33 View Post
    Indiana is our current state of residence but my wife's career field is much more open and thriving far better in North Carolina than here, even in the current economy.
    If your wife is making the money right now, and has better opportunities in NC than IN... why stay in Indiana?

    I would suspect that the same types of schooling and entry level positions are available in NC and IN... probable only major difference between the two locations is the availability of a union membership.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    houston, texas
    Posts
    3,787
    Speaking from our experience here in Texas, we prefer to hire people that haven't been in school and train them ourselves. Thats not always possible depending on the economy in different places. Our helpers and new hires make about 11-12 $/hr.

    If your wanting to go into hvac I'd suggest you move to a warmer climate so you would have more work. NC would give you more chances I'd imagine.
    I'm not tolerating Political Correctness anymore, from now on it's tell it like it is.

    Veto Pro Pak - The best tool bag you'll ever own






  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4
    We're here right now because my wife is medical POA for her aging parents. One of her sisters is supposed to be moving home to take over in the next few months but we'll see how that pans out. In May her most reliable sister will be an empty nester and will be moving in with the inlaws to care for them regardless of what the not so reliable sister does, so we'll be free to move around then.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Naples, Fl.
    Posts
    41
    stay in school, graduate, get a job, go to graduate school at night

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