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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    16
    Hi Everyone,
    To get to the point, I'm 48 and at a crossroads in my career. After much consideration, I just might make the total career change ( 20 years in the printing industry) and go into HVAC. I'm handy with tools, restored my 68 bug motor and tranny as well as everything else, and want to learn HVAC at a local trade school. I found this site and thought I would ask this question before I hand over $3,800 for 300 hours of training.
    Can you tell me what kind of income can be made? Are jobs available? Am I to old to get into this now?? I live in Westchester,NY.
    I appreciate your input!!!!!
    ED

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579


    If you are sincere, dependable, honest, a great people person, drug free, have a good driving record and just a nice guy, you can make it. Contractors are figuring out that they can teach a motivated guy the technical stuff and the mechanical and electrical skills but they can't make a good employee out of a bad employee.

    So, if you meet the criteria and gain some HVAC knowledge and skills, you will be hired. You may have to start out doing installs on a crew as well as some dirty work. But, if you progress you will be utilized for according to your ability and knowledge.

    Most contractors will not have a problem with your age if you are mature and have the aforementioned qualities.

    Pay will vary with geography. Visit some contractors in your area and ask questions about their possible interest in you, the local HVAC school and expected pay.

    Norm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,369
    Working around bug trannies and engines and print shops would indicate you're not afraid to get your hands dirty. That's a given in the HVAC trade. You also must tolerate a wider range of working conditions, such as blowing cold in the winter and sweltering attics and roofs in the summer. The work can be physically demanding, so if you're not in the habit of hitting the gym now and then, you might want to consider it. I began learning the value of regular workouts in my mid-thirties...I don't think I'd be as able in the work I do if I didn't make it a point to work out minimally twice a week.

    If I were a contractor or in a hiring position I'd personally want to hire an older guy that's fresh in the HVAC trade but has a solid work history in other areas. Chances are I'd get more of what Norm outlined...drug free, good with people, motivated, dependable, etc. Not to say there aren't any younger folks like that...they're just harder to find.

    You can pick your specialty in this trade: residential, commercial, industrial. You can work for a contractor or government/educational agency, facilities management, etc. Many start out doing gruntwork installs in residential and then move into service tech work, going where they feel they fit. Back when I was in a service truck I did mainly residential and light commercial. Now that I've tasted heavier commercial equipment I like the more intricate aspects of these systems over that of residential. But with the more high tech/high end residential systems on the market now, the residential sector is going to require a greater level of expertise and knowledge than ever. I can see a lot of potential in total home comfort systems, and the techs that can install and keep those things going will have plenty to occupy themselves.

    Whatever you choose, best wishes to you and good success.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Milwaukee
    Posts
    20
    At age 48, that can eather work for ya or against ya. At my job as an installer, they have us doing some pretty extreme chit, flashing, valley and gutter, good lord you need to be on top of your game, I'm telling you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    16
    Norm,Thanks!! I've been in sales, account management, customer service so a people person I am. I want to put my tinker gene to good use. I'm going to go to the orientation next week and sign up for the class. It covers everything including the EPA Certification. This is my new start so unless I win Lotto, I'll be hitting the books and classroom for 3.5 months, 6 hours a day, 5DW.
    Before I sign on the dotted line, any thoughts about Electrician and Plumbing jobs? Are there jobs for that as well? I hear Electrician doesn't have alot of overtime and takes longer to get going. But what pays more and is quicker to get started in??
    PS-this is a great site and be very useful when I start taking the classes. THANKS AGAIN!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    16
    Thanks Shophound and Snips!!Yeah, the workout equipment got dusted off lastnight.Guess I'll remove the coat hangers too. Tomorrow I'm going to call some HVAC listings in the yellowpages and ask a few question. I'm also going to go to the bookstore tomorrow to buy some books so I can start reading what I need to learn,sort of a jump on the classroom stuff. I'm feeling really good about this and I can't wait to get started.
    You guys are great and I certianly appreciate any advice and neg./pos. comments as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,540
    A mechanically incline go getter will do good.

    Don't expect to learn enough in your class to demand top wages to start.

    There's alot to learn, including electrical, and some plumbing.

    Good Luck
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579

    And of course you are always welcome to come here and get advice, ask about stuff you are learning at school and just hang out with us. You will get lots of expert help here. We also have fun with each other here so you need to have a good sense of humor. Flame wars sometimes break out but BOSS puts them out pretty fast.

    Norm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    i hired a 48 year old guy right out of tech school and he turned out to be a great employie to have. one thing you should keep in mind you will be started out at the bottom and work up from there. this trade in hard one the body and in time it pays well depending on how good you are.
    i wish you luck in your choice and the best
    give it hell and it will give back
    if i stay in here i will be glad to help and offer anything i can .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    10
    Mr Newstart
    Other than what has already been said ,if you like to have a daily mental challenge, learn something new almost everyday. Never have to stare at the clock for your day to end. I did a total ocupation change at 40, multiplied my income greatly ,mainly because I needed a skill and I had to succeed . It takes years to prove yourself then you can sell yourself. Good Luck..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    16

    Smile

    You guys are great!! I appreciate the uplifting and honest comments. Nothing is easy so I expect some hard work and macaroni and cheese dinners for the wife and kid. I'll be posting here once school starts and reading here everytime I now get the chance to log on. Thanks again

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    Newstart:

    I dont know if you are familiar with Norm yet but If you go to the "for your interest" section of this site you will find many articals he has written. He is very good and you can learn a great deal from him. I am 49 yrs old . I started in an hvac program in May of last year. I found a better program than the one I was in at a local community college and transfered there to continue my education. I got my EPA certifications and now work for a company that does new residential construction.
    So it is possible, but as you will find out , there is so much about this work you cant possibly learn it all from any one source.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    125
    While you're in school,don't let the instructor leave "the refrigerant cycle" until you understand the refrigeerant cycle...don't let him leave "wiring diagrams" until you can read wiring diagrams,etc.&etc.

    I gripe a lot about this business,but I truly can't unnerstan how anyone could ever work in a factory or an office all day.

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