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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    21
    Well, I've been browsing this site for a couple of days - was directed here by a member from another site because I was asking questions about aquiring a trade skill in HVAC.

    My basic question is this - is it possible to get started in the HVAC industry by taking a part time job on the weekends to get experience? I have no certifications, and don't know what, if any, are needed/required/desired by employers.

    I am working at a dead end job sitting in a cubicle for 30K +/- a year and I'm ready to get out. I've found my degree (B.A. English) is useless (like I didn't know that already), and that the people who seem to consistently make good money have an identifiable and marketable skill. That being said, I'm very mechanically inclined, and would like to learn this trade, but have to compromise given the fact that I have to continue to support my family while I learn (mine is the only income).

    Bottom line is, I need to know if there are 30K/yr jobs out there that I can take to learn this trade, and if not, what I need to do. Sounds like a HVAC degree might help, but not much? Getting conflicting info there. And the local colleges offer both two year AAS degrees as well as one year certificates. I'd like to get to work as soon as possible. I know I can't take the full-time helper route, so would it be possible to find work as an apprentice? I'm finding it difficult to get clear answers as to the normal career progression (whatever normal means).

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any input anyone has - and thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Deer Trail, CO
    Posts
    214

    Cool

    So you want into the HVAC trade? Best way from my stand point anyway, to get into the trade AND support yourself is to find the Pipefitters local and ask about the apprenticeship program. Education and a paycheck, not a bad way to start. Depending on your geographical region you could find that as an apprentice you might make the 30K you need. Remembering that as a union apprentice you get a pay raise as you progress each year. A weekend job in this trade is infrequent, we as a trade enjoy our weekends off, the exception being if it's your turn to be on call. I don't think that you'll find many non union shops that would take you on as an apprentice and give you the pay to survive. Contrary to the beliefs of the few, education is paramount in this trade. To get to the top you'll be constantly learning, ANY education just makes you better and more in demand. Physics, electronics and thermodynamics come to play on a regular basis and the knowledge of them just makes the job a lot easier. HVACR is a very interesting and challenging career and with the high demand for QUALIFIED technicians an individual can make a very comfortable living.
    Don't let your ego get in the way of a good decision

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    1,018
    Well said mdp. I agree, contact the local union. This is by far the best course to take in the HVAC trade.
    Better advice is become a electrician. Better pay and working conditions.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
    "Don't argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". --Mark Twain
    http://www.campbellmechanical.com

  4. #4
    What do you want to do?

    Hi temp or low temp?

    Institutional or industrial or laboratory or do you wish to do residential or commercial or work for a municipality?

    Family shop or roll up corperation?

    Union or non union?

    Do you want to work as part of a team effort or do yo wish ot work independantly?

    Are you willing to relocate?

    Are you a clean freak or a slob?
    Are you well organized or footlose?

    Do you want to do installation work or service work?
    How do you feel about sales?

    How well do you receive rejection?


    There are more questions. This is just the very tip of the iceberg.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    21
    What do you want to do?

    FOR STARTERS, GET WORK ANYWHERE. WOULD LIKE TO SPECIALIZE IN COMMERICAL/INDUSTRIAL REFRIGERATION.

    Hi temp or low temp?

    EITHER?

    Institutional or industrial or laboratory or do you wish to do residential or commercial or work for a municipality?

    WOULD LOVE TO DO LABORATORY/INDUSTRIAL, BUT WOULD ALSO LIKE COMMERCIAL. WOULD LIKE TO STAY AWAY FROM RESIDENTIAL.

    Family shop or roll up corperation?

    CORPORATION, IF JUST FOR THE BENEFITS, BUT WOULD BE HAPPY WITH EITHER, BUT NOT TO MANY FAMILY SHOPS IN COMM/INDUST REFRIG.

    Union or non union?

    IDEALLY NON-UNION, BUT I'VE FOUND OUT THAT ALL THE SHOPS IN KANSAS CITY DOING WHAT I WANT TO DO ARE UNION, SO I AM APPLYING FOR A UNION APPRENTICESHIP THIS COMING MONDAY. IF APPROVED, THEY WILL GIVE ME LIST OF COMPANIES TO WHOM I HAVE TO APPLY, AND IF HIRED, I WILL START THE UNION APPRENTICESHIP - I DON'T KNOW IF I HAVE A VERY GOOD CHANCE AT THIS ROUTE THOUGH BECUASE I HAVE NO INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE.

    Do you want to work as part of a team effort or do yo wish ot work independantly?

    EITHER. WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A MIX OF BOTH, BUT I DO LEAN TOWARD WORKING INDEPENDANTLY.

    Are you willing to relocate?

    YES, IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES TO SUPPORT MY FAMILY.

    Are you a clean freak or a slob?
    NOT A CLEAN FREAK, BUT DON'T LIKE A MESS.
    Are you well organized or footlose?
    VERY WELL ORGANIZED.

    Do you want to do installation work or service work?

    EITHER, BUT LEAN MORE TOWARD SERVICE BECAUSE IT SEEMS MORE STABLE - BUT WOULD ENJOY BOTH.

    How do you feel about sales?

    I HAVE THE TRADITIONAL SALES PERSONALITY, BUT WOULD RATHER WORK THE TRADE FOR A WHILE BEFORE EVER CONSIDERING SALES. I AM GOING INTO THIS LINE OF WORK TO GET OUT OF THE OFFICE.

    How well do you receive rejection?

    WELL, I MADE 20+ CALLS TO COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL REFRIG COMPANIES THIS PAST FRIDAY AND GOT TURNED DOWN BY ALL OF THEM (THEY WERE ALL UNION) AND IT ONLY MADE ME MORE DETERMINED. I HANDLE REJECTION WELL.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Deer Trail, CO
    Posts
    214
    Stick with it, once you're in the trade is quite rewarding. Don't feel bad about no experience, my experience has been that no apprentice knows anything, that's the purpose of the training program and OJT.
    Don't let your ego get in the way of a good decision

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Dallas TX
    Posts
    2,216
    You know I find it so very sad that people invest so much time in school and get a bachelors degree and then it does nothing for them. I spent 4 years on 2 AAS degrees and in the field at the same time and I make a descant living and could not imagine the feeling that people who do this must be going through.

    I have people from the computer industry and telecom, come to my classes and into my office all the time looking for jobs and education and it just floors me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    21
    SWAT, seriously, don't feel sad for me. I'm not. I surely wouldn't value the education and experience I am seeking in this trade if it were not for those four years I "wasted" in college. Hey, if it weren't for college, I would have never met my wife.

    And at this point in life, I've had a good dose of reality, with one child and one on the way, a mortgage and bills to pay, so I know how important it is to make a good living - and how challenging it is to. Well, I'm up for the challenge - I've been doing all right, but I wan't to do better, and it might as well be doing something I like instead of sitting in a grey cubicle 9 hours a day.

    And thanks to everyone for all the input.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Deer Trail, CO
    Posts
    214
    I guess the true bottom line is simply put, knowledge is power, any knowledge at all makes a person stronger. Hence my earlier comments about reading anything and everything remotely related to this field or any other chosen field.
    Don't let your ego get in the way of a good decision

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    20

    Talking

    Dude ,come to Jacksonville Fla.,
    You can make that money easy right off the street.I started as a green helper last October for $9.00 hr. Now Im a breakout mechanic at $16.00 hr. the money is great.NOw for a reality splash..the hours are f-ing brutal,also, you will, and I guarantee this,find youre self in some of the most physically discusting, uncomfortable,situations imaginable.I mean nasty!I usually do at least one full change out a day, (if its in a mech. room or garage)and set a cond. unit. If the change out is in the attic, all bets are off!I have no schooling in hvac ,but plan to go next semester so I can become a tech.I love hvac.I report to the shop at 7:30 and work till usually 6-8pm.T.



    p.s.-you have to be a sick pup to be in a.c.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    20

    Wink

    I forgot,
    No substance abuse or d.w.i. convictions are a definate asset ! Otherwise .. if you have a pulse....youre hired!!

  12. #12

    getting started

    i worked at the same place for 22 yrs. got laid off. so here iam .hvac sounds good but i dont know anything about it so ill be going to school for a certificate.im not afraid of hard work but i guess the thought of a new career is kind of scary. maybe some of you could give me a few tips on how to make the best of this situation. thanks

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