No schooling, Just on the job experience?
I did go to Hvac school and have an EPA Universal, AHRI (ICE), and school diploma. My electronics side is strong but I don't know much about refrigeration. The school was weak in that aspect.
For that reason I'm wondering if any of you didn't go to school but rather learned on the job. I have serious reservations that I'm ready to work in this industry without some much further experience in certain aspects of it (refrigeration in particular). It would help to know that some of you didn't even go to school for it but rather learned on the job.
What I really need to hear is that any of you were lost when it comes to refrigeration and learned that on the job. The school was excellent in all other aspects but as far as refrigeration goes I don't know much more than superheat, subcooling, and hooking up the gauges. As for troubleshooting and electronics, that was a hobby of mine before entering school so I already knew how to read schematics, what relays were, how to troubleshoot, etc.
IMO, if you are new to the trade and just starting out, your employer won't expect you to be a pro-tech and will probably have you ride along with a journeyman in a
'helper/apprentice" role. You will learn a lot this way, I did. I have worked in the commercial industry since 1995 and I immediately was drawn to DDC controls for a number of reasons. If you are interested in electronics, more so than turning wrenchs, I would suggest finding a company that has a Controls/ Building Automation Dept. That being said, it is very important that you have a solid understanding of how HVAC systems are supposed to work, so that you can be not only a good programmer, but an asset to your company and your customers. I did a 4 year apprenticeship and learned a lot about all kinds of HVAC systems, but ultimately decided DDC was the way for me. I'd rather go home with a headache, than a backache. I don't even own gauges anymore and have managed to make a nice career in HVAC.
I'm curious as to how you determined your school's refrigeration instruction was, as you say, "weak".
I say that because learning refrigeration theory is one thing, understanding it is quite another. There's a difference between "knowing what the superheat should be" and knowing, fundamentally, what superheat is, period. Many techs go along okay with "the superheat should be this"...but there's always that nemesis unit or system out there waiting to outstrip their limited understanding of refrigeration theory, and it will be nothing but frustration for them.
It goes further...did your school teach you why a refrigeration system needs superheat at all? The consequences of not enough superheat or too much? How superheat affects the discharge gas temperature off the compressor? How superheat can even affect subcooling? That the wrong superheat can actually kill a compressor?
It is definitely true that there is not a school on the planet that can take a person who has no knowledge of or experience in HVAC/R and turn them into a seasoned pro within two years or less. School is to help you understand the basic science behind your trade. It is up to you to continue deepening that knowledge with both experience and extended study for the rest of your career.
- 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.
Originally Posted by critterhunter
the refrigeration side of things in my opinion is easy.
i've never had any trade or tech schooling . only OTJ experiences.
alot of times i knew WHAT i was doing but not WHY. you have the base or foundation so to speak , now build on it.
a good employer will provide you with training and opportunities to learn and do.
you have shown your potential by passing school , you need to find an employer who'll build on that.
and dont quit studying on your own either.
good luck .
P.S. controls are a good paying career.
catch a man a fish , feed him for a day.
teach a man to fish , ruin a good business opportunity.
your schooling should have given you skills for an entry level job.
you have your foot-in-the-door for the refrigeration side.
even if the job goes bad, learn as much as you can
If you have been in school you have already wasted a lot of time. Get out there and get your feet wet! Work in some non profit areas like colleges & school districts to be exposed to many different technicians. They all have something to teach you. This is where most techs learn how to steal from their employers. Then when you get so sick of this you can go to work for a profit company. Unfortunately job hopping is part of our trade. Your first day on the job it is very important that you make a flying across the room tackle on your boss, pin him down and look mfer... Tell him how it is the first day because it will end up that way anyways, might as well get it over with...
"And remember my sentimental friend......that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others" - Wizard of Oz.
I'm in school right now at The Refrigeration School in Phx AZ. I love the school its great. I ask a million questions that are not taught in class and my instructors are more than happy to fill in the answers for me. Ive learned alot just from their knowledge. As far as the school though, instructors have said that if they had gone to school they would have been making alot more money quicker. So just keep studying man, I hope your doing good.
I, like you, have a background in electronics. So the electrical side of things was much easier for me to grasp than refrigeration. It took repeated studying of "the refrigeration cycle" and about 6 weeks of school, before the light slowly started coming on. This video link
is a good description of the basic refrigeration cycle. After watching it about 5 times, it started making sense !
Depending on what you do in the trade (installation or service) you may only need a rudimentary understanding of refrigeration. The rest you learn on the job. Many of the new gauges and scales and charts will do most of the math for you.