Hi all, I've been self employeed for the past 14 years in the cleaning business. I've taken this business about as far as it's going to go and now realize that it isn't going to provide me with a good quality of life. Being a one man company with no easy way to expand I'm rather burned out at it. So, I'm now considering going to some form of trade school to start a new career.
I've always been good with my hands and can do most mechanical work on my truck. I also have some basic electrical skills, having built minor DC circuits and can diagnose most sensor problems on my vehicle with a volt meter. I consider myself good at troubleshooting and fixing things. I'm also used to working outside and in general enjoy being at different job sites through out the day.
This would seem to make HVAC a good potential option for me. Put it this way, I don't want to go to college for a four year degree. I need some kind of trade school that will take me roughly a year or less to graduate. HVAC is one of the few things I can see myself doing.
I have a few questions for you HVAC gods (to me) that I hope you'll take the time to answer. First, here near Cleveland Ohio there are no HVAC trade schools as far as I can see. Well, there is one called Vatterot (sp?) but they want a TON of money (about four four to six times the normal trade school cost) and the course is almost two years long. Beyond that, the local Polaris offers a course at a much more reasonable price but does not offer night classes for it. I have to retain my days to run my regular business and would like to go to class at night after 4PM or so. Does anybody know of any other HVAC trade schools near Cleveland, OH?
My second question involves the class. Would you consider the training hard or just practical thinking? What I'm afraid of is a lot of extensive math as I was never very good at algebra. I can do the basics, but when it comes to complex formulas I'm lost. In other words, will a person who wants to learn and pay attention pass one of these classes or do you have to be a math expert?
My third question concerns employement. I keep hearing that HVAC is in high demand yet every time I open a paper the help wanted ads all say "5 years experience required". If there is such a demand for HVAC techs then how come every help wanted ad wants experienced techs, and...How are you supposed to get the experience if nobody is going to hire you?
Certification...Is there just the state and EPA certifications needed in Ohio or something more and are they very hard to pass?
My final question is this. Say I go to school, get great grades, and pass all the certifications. Will I be able to make decent money (in the $15 range) right away or does that only come after years of experience? I don't expect top dollar right away but if I'm only going to get paid less than $12 an hour I might as well be flipping hamburgers. An overview of what to expect and whether it is worth it for a 38 year old to persue this career would be great, along with any other advice you can give me. Thanks.