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  1. #1
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    Best way to get into the HVAC trade?

    Ok I see a lot of people downing the tech schools and I don't see them as being a plus for me personally I'm 40 (retired from a DoD computer career)

    I want to get into HVAC, I'm 40 but physically fit and don't mind starting as a helper.

    How do I (a 40yr dude) make myself look better for a HVAC company as a hire? What should I learn or take classes on, or read up on to make myself a better candidate?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong area


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  2. #2
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    http://www.ua.org/

    Join the Apprentice program Get paid to learn and learn correctly

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    http://www.ua.org/

    Join the Apprentice program Get paid to learn and learn correctly

    X2
    UA Proud

    "Phfft! Facts. You can use them to prove anything." Homer Simpson

  5. #4
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    I live on the eastern shore of md, they're closest local is in Baltimore 3hrs away


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  6. #5
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    Why would people down Technical Schools? That's where you learn hands on experience, maybe they are downing the four months online, or college courses that only teach you on paper, never getting your hands dirty. You want to learn this trade correctly, you would need to go to a hands on school for one year full time , or at night part time, for over a year to get firmilar with all the aspects of the profession IMO. Oil heat, Gas heat, Heat Pumps, A/C , electrical theory, electrical hands on , A/C theory, A/C hands on, torch use, building a simple refrigeration system or A/C system. Etc Etc. just because you may not have some of those systems in your area, you should learn them as you may relocate in the future.

    Learning from a trade school may count/ qualify toward your first license as far as counting for hours.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 01-24-2016 at 03:46 PM.

  7. #6
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    I wasn't downing them all I've seen locally are 2 yr certificates which include the EPA 608 cert (which I'm self studying ) and basic electrical theory, etc I have a 2 year electronics engineering very already so electrical theory I am good on specific systems I am not, but in the syllabus I see from the local community college it's that, English and some bs business class a few math classes (I did computer sci. For yours so I'm good on math) just doesn't look like much but a waste of time for me if I could get a apprenticeship or job as a helper and have real world learning


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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by daver297 View Post
    I wasn't downing them all I've seen locally are 2 yr certificates which include the EPA 608 cert (which I'm self studying ) and basic electrical theory, etc I have a 2 year electronics engineering very already so electrical theory I am good on specific systems I am not, but in the syllabus I see from the local community college it's that, English and some bs business class a few math classes (I did computer sci. For yours so I'm good on math) just doesn't look like much but a waste of time for me if I could get a apprenticeship or job as a helper and have real world learning


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    Many people do mid life career changes for whatever reason, yes of course you will be the junior person if you work with a experienced ( even a young tech. With experience ) you seem to recognize that. In my state you can not legally go out on a service call or do a install solo until you have a license. So that affects your income potential, do not know how your state works on that subject. Some states have a lot less licensing requirements than others. When I worked for a Contractor years ago, we had a person get into HVAC even older than you. When we showed up at a residential install,the customer automatically focused their questions on the older person ( even thou he was woefully less experienced than me at the time ) thinking he was more experienced, the perception is interesting.

  9. #8
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    Yeah I could see that happening on occasion I don't have any kind of ego though, I just want to learn HVAC and do it, so it wouldn't hurt my feelings any to explain I'm the helper he's the pro...


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  10. #9
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    In your case, you will need to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you have a mechanical aptitude. And electrical prowess will go a long way. This is usually done by showing a history of employment requiring those skills.

    Short of that, to set yourself apart from all the others looking for the same job as you, one way is to under bid them; ask for less money. If you can afford it. Generally speaking, after a couple of years, you'd seek other employment to get more money. But during that time, you'd be talking to the other guys you'll be meeting at the wholesalers and sometimes on the same roof tops. Networking yourself into better positions.


    Quote Originally Posted by daver297 View Post
    I wasn't downing them all I've seen locally are 2 yr certificates which include the EPA 608 cert (which I'm self studying ) and basic electrical theory, etc I have a 2 year electronics engineering very already so electrical theory I am good on specific systems I am not, but in the syllabus I see from the local community college it's that, English and some bs business class a few math classes (I did computer sci. For yours so I'm good on math) just doesn't look like much but a waste of time for me if I could get a apprenticeship or job as a helper and have real world learning


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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by daver297 View Post
    Yeah I could see that happening on occasion I don't have any kind of ego though, I just want to learn HVAC and do it, so it wouldn't hurt my feelings any to explain I'm the helper he's the pro...


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    I actually told him not to say anything to the customer as long as he worked with me that he was the junior, I was there with him to listen to what the customers concerns where as the junior, out of respect for his age and knowing how he would feel. The job gets done in the end anyway. Having Compassion for someone's feelings goes a long way.

  12. #11
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    daver297
    You're in a tough spot. Age, experience in the work force and knowledge. I do not put down unions at all if we did not have them my earning would be much lower. But the UA here for HVAC is a 5 year program the first year is basically working as a helper. Having said that it does not mean you will get work it maybe just for the busy season.

    The Community College in my area has a good program. It's a year but when you get out you are definitely a solid 1 year apprentice experience in hands on skills. Which will let you know if this is really something you want to do. My Community College also has a adult education program that's not to bad usually couple nights a week for a couple months.

    More and more HVAC machines and system are being run by microprocessor and office automation system that may be your niche. While you're at the Community College make an appointment with a counselor and see if they have anything along those lines. I just removed four older electro-mechanical controlled system and installed new systems with digital control. You won't get that specialty in the ua. There are several pros here that lean to the electrical & controls specialty

    So I would suggest:
    1. Contacting the community college in your area to see what they may have.
    2. Go to the UA and fill out an apprenticeship application.
    3. Then I'd make up a couple dozen short resumes documenting you have held a long term job, why you are looking for work and the skill sets you have. Then just walk into the HVAC shops in your area and ask to talk to the boss or office manager. See if they will give you a couple minutes to talk. If no leave your resume.

    I'd take a hard look at what it would take to become a "controls guy", learn the refrigeration part and you may be set.

    Good Luck

  13. #12
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    Apprentice's don't sit on the bench, they are employed and learning for the full 5 year program.

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  15. #13
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    Unless you know someone, a tech school might be your only way in. Around here, even to get into the union they want a tech school diploma. That means a possible 7 years of school before being able to not call yourself an apprentice anymore.

    You could possibly work your way up by starting out as an installer's helper if you could find someone to give you a shot, though.

    I would still recommend the tech school route. If you do really know your stuff like you say you do, it might be possible to test out of some of the classes. They also might be able to give you credit for some of the classes you've already taken in the past. I think it would be worth finding someone at the school to talk to about those possibilities.

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