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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pouce Coupe BC
    Posts
    282

    New Vancouver member, career change at 36.

    Hi guys, great forum!

    I've been in the trade for about 20 years, started with sheet metal, switched to gas after a couple of years and I have worked as a service tech and installer since then.

    I had my own shop for a few years then moved to a rural town to work for the gas utility in 2006.

    I'm back in the big city and I want to switch trades (kinda). I took a basics of refrigeration course before I started my business, bought some tools and installed a few heat pumps. I really enjoyed the change of scenery.

    I've looked into our local apprenticship rules and if I get my documentation together showing my years in the trade I can get credit for some hours!

    I'm hoping to get back at it at the end of summer, my wife is a controller (accountant) and is making enough money now that it's my turn to re-train. (I'm doing night courses to write for the next level of gas ticket too)

    I look forward to catching up with the changes in the 4 years I've been gone from the hvac world and appreciate any opinions/advice on my career change.

    Rod

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,253
    When life is no fun it is time for a change. If there is an RSES chapter nearby go to some meetings and get some face to face opinions/advice. Commercial refrigeration always seems busy and is very challenging. You gotta love overtime though. I am a commercial hvac technician, it is more seasonal but I like the work. The climate is mild here so good rain gear is a must and waterproof boots. Good luck and let us know how it goes. P.S. go to rses.org and check it out!
    Challenge yourself, take the CM test --- Certificate Member since 2004 ---Join RSES ---the HVAC/R training authority ---www.rses.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pouce Coupe BC
    Posts
    282
    Thanks Paul, that's a good website and assosiation. I'll try and get to the next local meeting. Working for the gas utility I have dealt with many late night/early morning call-out in extreme weather, can't say I love it but it comes with a good paying job.

    I've looked into other lines of work but even with a 4 year degree the starting pay isn't that good considering the debt you have, so I guess I'm staying in the trades!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    6,959

    Welcome to the site...

    Just remember that when you have 15 posts you are eligible to apply for pro membership...if you said to yourself, WOW! Look at all they have to offer you will be pleasantly surprised as you have not seen nearly all that is available.

    Enjoy!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pouce Coupe BC
    Posts
    282
    I will sir, I've searched this forum for info before. I'm a late bloomer but education and learning is more important to me now than wages, I've recently realized I'll probably be working for close to 30 more years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    907
    Quote Originally Posted by Roddy73 View Post
    I will sir, I've searched this forum for info before. I'm a late bloomer but education and learning is more important to me now than wages, I've recently realized I'll probably be working for close to 30 more years.
    Are you working on your gas A ticket?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    south east usa
    Posts
    14
    also, consider something other than HVAC field work. it is tough out there.....you already know.....and perhaps a desk job or supply house job is in order? I dont wish to be in the field 30 more years

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pouce Coupe BC
    Posts
    282
    I am thinking of doing the bcit night courses and writing my A this winter Eddie. That might help me get another service tech job with the gas utility in the future.

    But at the same time I'm accepted to start my part-time business managment degree at Douglas College and I'm thinking of trying to get a job at a supplier's counter and work my way up in that industry. By the time I get enough years in for a higher position I'll have my degree.

    Ahh...choices.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    907
    Quote Originally Posted by Roddy73 View Post
    I am thinking of doing the bcit night courses and writing my A this winter Eddie. That might help me get another service tech job with the gas utility in the future.

    But at the same time I'm accepted to start my part-time business managment degree at Douglas College and I'm thinking of trying to get a job at a supplier's counter and work my way up in that industry. By the time I get enough years in for a higher position I'll have my degree.

    Ahh...choices.
    I havent heard too many good things about the night course at BCIT for the A gas. I was told the failure rate is over 50%. If you do take the course let me know how it goes as I am considering taking it as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pouce Coupe BC
    Posts
    282
    It's just a prep course to write the exam but I think the age of the guys writing it is the reason for the high fail rate.

    I was told to upgrade my high school math to grade 12 level (I have grade 11) before I write the A exam.

    The teachers at the continuing education (learn now BC) recommended I start back at grade 10 because I've been out of high school so long. I'm 3/4 of the way through it and they were right, I hardly rememeber anything!

    It seems like a pain but those classes are free and I don't want to fail the A exam and be out all that money. I'd go register for the grade 11 at least and see if you can ace it before I tried the A, if more guys did that I'm sure the fail rate would be lower.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    surrey, bc
    Posts
    21
    the 'a' gas course is long and tough.
    missed passing by 1.5% because i ran out of time writing the exam

    there no multiple choice of fill in the blank kind of questions.
    no code books allowed either.

    the exam was over two nights 3.5 hours each night and about 12 questions
    each night, unfortunately those with great memories do well but that doesn't
    make them good service mechanics.

    it helps to have a good exposure to big boilers and dfma units

    because of the TILMA agreement the new 'b' gas licensees have a reduced
    working capacity so i suspect everyone will be seriously thinking of
    going for the bigger license

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    907
    The new limited B ticket will only effect apprentices that started in January of 2010. Anyone that started their apprenticeship before 2010 will be under the old B ticket. I have the old one ant believe I can work on anything with no limitation that has an atmospheric burner and 400,000btu or 450,000btu (I cant remember off the top of my head) with a power burner.

    This is what I was told at PVC (plumbing school) when I was taking the gas B course.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    surrey, bc
    Posts
    21
    well not sure of the exact implementation date of TILMA, thought is was
    in '09. no biggie though. actually the new restriction for the 'b' is 400 mbtuh.
    the old 'b', which is what you have the power burner is good for 750 mbtuh
    if my memory serves me correct.

    what gets me is the price of the code book, yikes

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