I'm thinking about changing professions and was wondering if you guys could answer a few questions for me:
1. How seasonal is the work? (if at all)
2. What are typical working hours? (apprentice)
3. What type of salary could be expected for an entry level position? (Residential / light commercial in Michigan)
4. What do you look for in an apprentice?
5. Do you prefer applicants hold a certificate before applying?
6. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about starting a career in the HVAC industry?
$10 an hour, a good attitude is expected and a unquenchable thirst to learn.
As long as you are free to stay up half the night, once in a great while ... and not have much of a social life ... ever ... you should do very nicely!
Dont have strings attached which would bind you to any responsibilities such as a family, bills, debts, monthly payments, hobbies, etc.
Be willing to go live in a tent and eat whatever your boss feeds you for meals. If and when he ever does stop for meals ... that is.
And then ... once he begins giving you control/ responsibilty on service calls ... you get a healthy serious raise!
And once you get a phone and are out there making some mistakes, on his dime ... you get another big raise. Seriously!
And once you get your number of call backs down to where your employer quits biting his nails ... then you have arrived!
Then get married and buy a home. But NOT until then!!!
Find a guy with the patience of Job.
Locate a man of great character who is hungry for company on his calls and he will allow you to tag along. If you impress him, and he likes your attitude, he may keep you around.
If he does, you are set for the rest of your life. Dont ever disapoint him, for any reason, ever.
And he will teach you things like you never would learn in half this nation's tech schools!
Forsake all else to follow this man into the field every single day.
Once you become a seasoned service technician, you can go anywhere and find a good job.
But until you get the right kind of experience, most wont even return your phone calls or respond to your applications for employment.
That's why I recomend the private small shop route.
i am with r12 on this on, private small shop is THE PLACE, to learn...gain confidence by working on various equipment.
i too, made a career jump into hvac, but, and "LISTEN CLOSELY", i jumped to the WRONG place to start out in the field, the office staff was non-exsistant, the pay wasn't to par, and the stress of a mis-ran business was really getting to me...but I LEARNED ALOT being there.
in summary; go somewhere not inendated with work, just to learn the ropes of the trade, then go elsewhere.
If you dont already have it get your epa certificate .Some supply house's may offer the test or you may try a local tech school. I got my start w/ a small to med. sized family owned company that had a strong service dept. They had several tech's w/ 15-20 years exp. ( gold mine!) Every chance I got I would pick their brains. I started out doing pm's & gradually moved into service. 10 years later I'm starting my own company.( geez the paper work) . Not that installers are not skilled but I would recommend starting in service if you can . Many times here new guy's starting in this trade get tossed into installation as duct helpers. Duct skills are great to have but I think a lot of times people exspect to learn service skills & end up being install helpers for years. Take your time & find the right company to start with one that offers training & believes in continuing education. Best of luck to you. I 've found this to be a very rewarding profession.
I can do all things...
I agree with the above posts. But consider loyalty to the man who Mentor's you. If he wants to retire as you are nearing maturity, perhaps take over. You may be ready by then.
Remember, money and beneifts are not everything. Coming home on a regular basis is of tremendous value. As is having your bills paid in advance and having a little money left over for rainy days and slow seasons.
Having a boss you get along with is even better though. Few who find him will treasure him forever.
Those who make up the majority live in daily fear of his unrealistic expectations.
Also, check out these threads;
What does an Entry Tech need to know
Design a tech
Top Ten things a tech needs to know
Becoming a service technician
Green Tech help
what's happening in our tech schools today
Salary, location, duties
Becoming a Master Tech
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
As far as having no strings before getting into the industry, it's a bit late for that;I'm married with a baby. In the end the strings are the catalyst for the profession change. It is because I want to be there for my family that I'm seeking an alternate profession. Currently I'm self employed as a painter/drywaller, so long hours and hard work are not a concern.
The consensus has been to start in a small shop, so what would you consider a small shop? And is a shop being too small a concern?
Am I correct in the impression that you guys recommend that I hold a certificate before applying?
Once again thank you for your help!