Going HVAC at 55 years old
A few months ago I enrolled in a 200 hour HVAC maintenance and repair course, and received my EPA Universal Certiication. Unfortunately, there was not much hands experience, but alot of reading about refrigeration, AC electrical components, charging & evacuation, etc... The only hands-on we received was putting together fan circuits and troubleshooting them. Oh yeah we volunteered our services to troubleshoot and repair some old PTAC units at a motel. Well anyway I got hooked. I am planning on enrolling in a HVAC associates degree program at a local community college, and also independently study for a NATE Heat pump certification. What I would like to do is start my own full-time HVAC maintenance and repair business after I receive my associates. I will be 57 years old, with 2 years experience as a "freelance" HVAC tech. I was wondering if I am will able to meet the demands of repairing split units and in some cases crawling under homes to get to a discharge line. Also, can I realistically compete as a middle ages guy with no real track record. Am I being realistic at all?
What is your opinion about my plan?
What are some of the obstacles I might encounter?
What are some of the advantages?
I think we would need a lot more information about what you have been doing for the past 30 years to be able to give you an informed answer. In my experience of being in this business for the past 30 years, it takes a good five years to master the technical aspects of the trade. If , on the other hand, you have been troubleshooting electrical systems for 30 years, that timeline could be drastically cut.
In any event, I'd suggest you go work for someone to see if you enjoy the work before expending the energy and money to start a business. Good luck in whatever you decide.
Wow, I'm glad someone posted this. I'm the same age and trying to figure a new career path. I realize these professions are not walk right in,but 5 yrs. to become proficient enough to be on your own ? Heck,I'll be 60. The age discrimination I get already is forcing me to really make an informed decision about what path to follow as far as new career training. I know schools will promise the moon but ,are employers willing to hire 55 yr old newbies ? Hmm. I also thought of appliance repair. Mechanically inclined,30 yr. experience ,concrete truck driver thinking of commercial refrigeration tech. career. Man,I dont know anymore,about anything in this world.
talk to technicians in your area and ask them how long they've been at their current company, and what kind of wages they expect new employees would earn.
in my area truck driving is a far better job
Find out what the local regulations are in your area. In St. Louis, you gotta be a licensed journeyman to work on your own which requires 7500 verifiable hours to be approved to take the licensing test. Good luck to you. Your never too old to start something new. And remember, once u go HVAC, u never go back!
15 some years ago we needed a good tech. Asked at the local vo-tech and they suggested Juan. Retired from US Army, he went to their school for HVAC but instead of a job in the field, he was working cargo at the airport. The boss called him, got him in for an interview and hired him. He worked 10 years til 65 and "retired". We called him back and he worked 2 summers 3 days a week doing cleans. Customers loved him. This year he didn't come back, age and family obligations prevented it to our disappointment.
It is hard on the bod. I'd rule out installation but service up into one's 60s is possible.
what a great post
thanks for sharing this post. I like to know that it is not tired and then retired
Originally Posted by BaldLoonie
You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!
honestly any 200 hr class sickens me, to the core put in your time like i did become a real tech not a fly by night , i am not a sales man i am a technician Their are many mechanics out their im insulted when someone calls me a mechanic i put in a year and 3 months of technical collage and earned my stripes in this trade many a times and am sick of going behind 200 hr course fly by night MECHANICS/SALESMEN but i am grateful for them at the same time , cause i can prove them wrong and take their customer that they have been screwing over , yes i know not everybody that does the 200 hr course is a POS but alot are and its a damm shame, me personaly i would love to keep non professionals away from a/c units.
I don't think completing a 15 month course gives you the ability to walk on water,makes you a "real tech", or gives you the right to trash a guy for trying to better himself.
Originally Posted by AtkinsonAirCare
I wouldn't have a problem hiring a older newbie as long as he is physically able to perform the work.
IV IV IX
use your head for something other than a hat rack.......Gerry
We have freedom because somebody fought for it.
We keep it because we are willing to fight for it.
We lose it because we are not willing to fight for it.
Whoa! u need way more hands on experience before u even think about going out on your own, i have all the nate certs they mean nothing compared 2 good old on the job experience get a job at a company first
Originally Posted by hvac1232
honestly, if u feel you arent physicaly able 2 do attics and mobile homes commercial refridgeration/ice machienes/appliances is way less impactful
Never too late
I started going to school to get my associates degree in HVAC at the age of 36. Had electrical/mechanical experience prior. Started working for a Industrial/Commercial union shop 2 years later. Was told by a service manager that he thought I had gotten into the field TOO LATE and would have trouble understanding many concepts. HE WAS WRONG. I've learned alot and Iam still working. Just turned 60 and have no plans to retire for some time. I will say it's important to be in good shape because the physical aspect is always present. Your never too old to learn. Just how you apply your new skill sets will determine your success.
I remember when I first entered the trades as an electrical apprentice at 21, I was told that I am too old to get into the trades and apprenticeship since most people get in at 18 after HS, a lot of it comes down to your physical ability in my opinion, this trade like most are demanding physically and I don't know if I would want to be doing this in my 50's.
When I was doing my schooling for refrigeration and gas fitting, I would say that average age was 40 in my classes, older than one would think, a couple of people were in their 50's as well.
You are way too old to get started in the trade, its going to be very hard for you to find meaningful employment as a service tech. I advise you to apply for maintenance jobs where hvac is part of the picture. good luck!!