Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    considering HVAC as a career, need advice.

    hey guys my name is David and i am currently employed as a dental assistant with no benefits. I want to be able to make more money and support my family and i have done some research and my friend who is in the gas company always told me if he could go back and do something else it would be HVAC. My friend keeps telling to me hvac is the way to go as a new career. I called around found a union place here in California that says there program will take about 5 years to complete with going to classes 2 nights a week, and if you pass there entrance exam and you get in they have contractors they work with that your starting pay is between $17-19 an hour. I was like that sounds great but all the forums i read and research i do people say your starting pay is crap like $10-11 an hour but i don't know what state they are in, so i was wondering you guys think $17-19 an hour union sounds about right here in california?

    Also i want to know how is the job market out there for HVAC in California specifically?
    Also Pro's and Cons about the job from experienced people that are currently HVACS and which line of work is best once you are a journeyman?

    Thanks in advance for any advice or guidance!
    David.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,636
    i'm sorry, but i don't don't recommend this career to anyone, especially in California.

    most companies pay $18 per hour.
    the money isn't the problem, the problem is keeping a job.
    companies lay-off every 8 months to 2 years.
    i've worked for 6 companies in 7 years.

    i have a decent job now, but i have absolutely no job security.
    i could be laid-off next month.

    HVAC companies are always hiring, because they're always firing.

    i recommend staying away from everything construction related unless you want to hear "i'm sorry but it's slow right now" for the rest of your life.

    you don't just walk into a union.
    the union is going to evaluate you on everything other than whether you can do the job or not.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    569
    If you're in it for the money, you're not going to go very far. HVAC is lucrative, but it takes many years and a lot of hard work to earn a substantial wage. You have to be passionate about what you do to enjoy it and when you become good at it, then the money will follow. If you think money is going to make you interested, well, you might as well say the tail wags the dog.

    I can't speak of the job market in California (climate plays a huge role), but HVAC is an industry that can never be outsourced and demand for smart, hard working individuals is always high. From what I hear, unions are a mixed bag. We don't have an HVAC union around here as far as I know (thank goodness), but inexperienced members of the electrical and plumbing unions are on the bench waiting for work most of the time. Yea, the pay and benefits are great, but what's it worth if you only get 15-20 hours a week? That's just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt.

    Do you like tinkering with electronics and mechanical devices? Are you a nerd for physics and magnetism? Do you like working outdoors, even when it's 100 degrees or below 0? If so, go take a few classes at a community college or public trade school and get your feet wet. Find a helper position with a reputable HVAC company and work your way up the ladder. It takes years to be a worthy HVAC technician, so expect your pay to be a few dollars higher than minimum wage until you prove yourself. Good luck and ask questions!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the replies! I appreciate it. I do love everything you stated above, but i don't believe fallowing a passion and making it in this world. I'm realistic I don't care if it's hot and have to work hard that's something I'll adapt to. That's just the type of person I am. My whole point was trying to see if the job market for this profession is good or not? Like the first guy that posted said they hire and layoff 8 months into the job that's worry some to me. I know that's at most jobs in this economy but anyone else that can respond that has been recently hired In the field to give me more insight?
    Again thanks guys in advance!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    569
    I started in the field a little over half a year ago after a year of trade school. I trained under a master technician and now I'm in my own take-home truck running service calls and I'm compensated fairly. Job security isn't an issue if you're reliable and work hard (physically and mentally). Companies lay off the chaff who show up late, are confrontational, or simply don't care. I and my friends have never heard of a good hard working tech, regardless of experience, be laid off. Where one company lays off, another is hiring and the economy has had little effect on that. People value A/C and heat as much as their mortgage even in the roughest times.

    Again, that's in our local economy. In California where some places the weather is pleasant year round, I can see how it might be hard to carve out a career. Refrigeration techs are probably always needed, as they are anywhere. The job market is strong overall. Many kids are going off to four-year colleges with dreams of being consultants or artists or whatever, and far fewer kids are going into a trade. I drank that Kool Aid which is how I wound up here and I love it. The demand for smart people is high and companies will pay top dollar for someone sharp.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    228
    X2 its not a get rich quick and if you dont have a passion for fixing things you wont go far. but if you are willing to put in the time you can make a good living.. but its hard work
    Quote Originally Posted by CircusEnvy View Post
    If you're in it for the money, you're not going to go very far. HVAC is lucrative, but it takes many years and a lot of hard work to earn a substantial wage. You have to be passionate about what you do to enjoy it and when you become good at it, then the money will follow. If you think money is going to make you interested, well, you might as well say the tail wags the dog.

    I can't speak of the job market in California (climate plays a huge role), but HVAC is an industry that can never be outsourced and demand for smart, hard working individuals is always high. From what I hear, unions are a mixed bag. We don't have an HVAC union around here as far as I know (thank goodness), but inexperienced members of the electrical and plumbing unions are on the bench waiting for work most of the time. Yea, the pay and benefits are great, but what's it worth if you only get 15-20 hours a week? That's just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt.

    Do you like tinkering with electronics and mechanical devices? Are you a nerd for physics and magnetism? Do you like working outdoors, even when it's 100 degrees or below 0? If so, go take a few classes at a community college or public trade school and get your feet wet. Find a helper position with a reputable HVAC company and work your way up the ladder. It takes years to be a worthy HVAC technician, so expect your pay to be a few dollars higher than minimum wage until you prove yourself. Good luck and ask questions!
    Do it once. Do it correct.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    228
    not sure about where you are at but my first job lasted for 8 years and then i moved on i would recommend getting into commercial hvac less layoffs and better pay IMO
    Do it once. Do it correct.

  8. #8
    nice I'm getting more info. Feel free to add more opinions and suggestions the more I can learn from you guys who have experience in the field the better!
    Thanks for the above posts!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    6,966
    there is a S Cali guy willing to train on the jobs here right now..check it out
    "when in doubt...jump it out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qEZHhJubY

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event