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Thread: hvac career

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4

    Hmm

    I thank all of you for replying to the questions that I asked about starting a career in hvac. I must admit I am a bit apprehensive about beginning school at 40 and trying to start a business shortly afterwards. Most of you that responded to my questions seemed to believe that I would be almost 50 yrs old before I would really make some money in this field, and it will truly take a toll on me physically.

    So my new questions are: Can I find gainful employment in this field when I complete my training? What is the adverage statring pay?(I live in St. Louis, Missouri.) Also,is it possible to work with some company before I have completed school? What are my chances truly in this field at the age of 40 yrs old. I have a wife and 3 children and I need some consistant income. I don't just want a job I would like a career .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    7,415
    It depends a lot on what school you attend, but a lot of the vo-tech type schools will allow you to leave up to 6 months before graduation to go find a job. You just have to complete the book work and turn it in, you'll still get your degree.

    Heck some companies might even be willing to help pay for school, or let you work in the late afternoon.

    For what it's worth, my Dad was an appliance repairman for 30+ years when he switched into the HVAC field (old company went out of business). He learned some of the basics from the window airconditioners, but roughly 7 years later he's one of the top techs where we work.

    Never say never. Never say I can't do it. If you must ask a question like that, just ask why couldn't I do it?

    Enjoy the advice from yet another newb

  3. #3
    Senior Tech Guest
    Yes, if your a good technician employment will not be a problem, potential employers are begging for good, quality technicians.
    Don't really know what the average starting pay is but I would think somewhere around $12 to $15 an hour to start, alot of companies also have "spiff", commission programs which enhance there profits and yours when used properly.
    As far as your chances in the field they are entirely up to you as a person, do you take pride in your work? Are you quality minded? Our success in this business is based on our success at life, and how we manage our lives...in short, if your a s#it bag (and no I'm not implying you are) you'll do lousy, if your a good, decent person with a drive to be successful at anything you do you could do great.
    And in closing...consistency in income can be problematic, some weeks your eyeing that new car...other weeks your wondering if you can really afford that extra cup of coffee.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    1,311
    it is one of the best fields to work in. refrigeration and air-conditioning technology is only growing, as our world becomes more and more complex the applications of this industry grow. the methods we use to control the equipment is growing as well. i would'nt trade it for anything.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2
    I came here wondering if HVAC is for me. This is the first thread I read and the first I will reply to.

    A friend of mine told me the money is pretty good if I was thinking of a new type of career. He said he was able to go to school and do his apprenticeship at the same time.

    Anyways Im just curious. How hard is HVAC work on your phyisically and is it a difficult field to learn? Is there a lot of math in the HVAC field?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,346
    How hard is HVAC work on your phyisically and is it a difficult field to learn? Is there a lot of math in the HVAC field?
    Depending upon which area of the HVAC trade you become proficient in, the work at times can be physically demanding. In my early days I crawled through hellishly hot attics full of scratchy blown-in insulation to pull flex duct and set air handlers. Almost passed out from the heat.
    As a service tech I found the day to day physical demands varied, depending on what I had scheduled for the day. Changing a compressor in a water source heat pump over a suspended ceiling is on the upper end of the spectrum, physically (for one man), while doing a clean & check in a senior citizen's home who keeps the place spotless is at the lower end.

    Mathematically, it also varies. Guys who crunch the numbers in the process of total system design are doing some fairly serious math. At a minimum you should be proficient at basic arithmetic, order of operations, perhaps some algebra and geometry. There's plenty of formulas out there for most things in the field, but it helps to understand what that formula is trying to accomplish.
    I'm no math whiz, but I do okay. It just takes a little longer. Calculators are priceless.

    In closing, consider this trade only if you think you'll REALLY like it. The work can be hard and the hours long but there's no other trade quite like this one. The guys who like doing it get the most out of it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2
    Thanks for the reply. I guess the main concern for me is my age. Im 27 and wondering if getting into a new field is really something I want to do . ONce I do it, its done and there is no turning back. So lets say I start taking classes in hvac, how hard would it be to get a job for me with no experience in the field whatsoever? I have a mortgage to pay for among other things, will this support me for the first couple of years. How long is the shcooling? How long is the apprecnticeship? Just a another curious question, where do you guys go to the bathroom?

    Also you mentioned there are different areas in HVAC. Can anyone provide me any information on the different areas. I would like to do some readin about them to find what im best suited for. Thanks

    [Edited by skel on 06-01-2004 at 11:13 AM]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    Hudson Valley Community College is the school that teaches HVAC in our area. They have a 100% placement record, currently. The placement officer told me (an employer) that I should get "my" name on the list 6 months prior to when I will be taking on more technicians.

    I reccomend going for an associates degree. You will get a taste of the various aspect of our trade while in the associates program. Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration are the general areas into which the trade is broken down.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4

    reply to lmtd

    Originally posted by lmtd
    Have not beenon the boards much this week and did not see your other post.

    Which St. Louis Vatterott campus are you considering?

    Ofallon? St.Ann? Sunset Hills?

    I run the HVAC program at the St. Ann campus. You are welcome to drop in Tuesday and visit.

    To answer your question, I have placed guys from 10 bucks an hour through 22 an hour out of our program.

    A good example would be a recent graduate who started out at 10 bucks an hour, nine weeks later he is at 18.75 an hour.

    The programs at all three campus have a 50% lab. Our programs are a bit different as we have the BS degree program as well.

    With ANY program, it all depends upon you sir. You are 100% in control of your own future.

    I am a real in your face straight shooter and will tell you that completing school opens doors, but once that door is open, no one cares what you got on test, in fact, in over 20 years, i have never had a client give me a test, they just said fix it.

    Feel free to give me a shout.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4
    I an thinking about attending the St. Ann campus. That is ironic that you asked that. I am tossing up being an electrician or hvac. Hvac was my first choice, but am 40yrs and i desire to start my own business. Most of the feedback i receive tells me that, that may be difficult just completing school. I have so many questions. I want to know what i am doing and be able to begin in the field while in school.

    Youy spoke of the guys earning nice money. What is the difference in the guy making 10 hour and $18, did one apply himself more?

    Another thing is i have a felony convictions that is about 15yrs old but i am currently on parole. Will that hinder me?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    atlanta
    Posts
    5

    newbie to hvac field

    anyone with dedication can make it i started out 7 months ago for a commerical hvac company as a helper. bought the tools that the techs had. (boss said dont need tools)
    started at 10.50 an hour.1 month later goat a 50 cent raise,at 3 months got another 50 cent raise.after 6 1/2 months got into a truck and running service calls. boss just called me into his office and said i was doing good and gave me a 3.00 raise. just goes to show you that hard work and a good attidude will get you somewhere.

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