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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Southwest CT
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    12
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    Best HVAC related field to switch to?

    I have been in the trade for about 8 years doing residential / light commercial service and installations. 28 years old. I'm planning to go back to college soon and to get at least a 4 year degree so one day I can put the tools down and end the wear and tear on my body before it's too late. Can anyone recommend a good alternative career path thats related to the trade so that the knowledge I've accumulated so far doesn't go to waste? Definitely looking to make as much or more money than I would staying as a tech. I'm considering project management but I'm open to other suggestions from those who may have also made this switch. I've ruled out engineering as I don't think I'll be able to balance the workload with working full time. Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    38,980
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    Do you like the tech challenge, and actually 'fixing' things???

    If so... controls is a growing field that would be a thought...
    Controls is like working in the tech field... yet not nearly as physical... mostly mental and software...

    Management and engineering are probably the areas that require college and are still related to this business...

    Oh, you could be a factory sales/tech rep... and travel all over the place... and put out fires...
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Your comfort, Your way, Everyday!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5
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    I’ve been eyeing Building Management when I have a string of crappy days. I’ve talked to several top-notch guys in huge buildings in downtown SF and it seems like it could be interesting. But hard to break into without experience and a degree.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    DFW, TX.
    Posts
    737
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    Facilities managers make good money. Controls would also be good.

    Sent from my LG-G710 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    860
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    Well, I don’t think any degree will open doors in the HVAC field, except for engineering. Your best bet would be to become familiar with the whys of the field and get someone to give you a shot in management or sales at an hvac company. My company brought a guy into the office about your age a year ago and he is doing great. We brought him in because he was technically competent and likable.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    260
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    Are You Tired of Running all Day, Working on the same old tired azz hvac unit, over and over again ? Well then, let me introduce you to the Wonderful World of The "Stationary Engineer". "IF", and I say again, "IF," You pick the right Company to work for, you will work on everything from 6k water coolers, to 3000 ton chillers, and every other piece of Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic Equipment in between! How will you do this you ask?, I will help you in every way i can, as that is my job, at this point of my life, to give back before i die.! "Seek and Ye Shall Find", "Ask and Ye Shall Receive". PS: I will be here all week!, We will have Dinner Show at 5pm, followed by a Dog and Pony show at 6pm lol.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsBwLnOfMcU:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    5
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    I work for a large distributor of building controls / BAS systems in the midwest and every single one of our contractors is talent starved. If you want to use the knowledge you've gained already and have some proficiency with computers at all look into controls. There is a lot to learn, but you could do full programming / engineering, troubleshooting, etc without having to go the full 4 year degree route. Not sure the area you are in, but commercial controls and mechanicals in every territory I've been to are all complaining about not being able to find good people to hire. You have some experience, and the right company would likely be willing to invest.

    With that said, there are some good resources online to give you an idea of what that side of the industry looks like. Check out automatedbuildings (dot) com or for some online training info look at buildingautomationmontly (dot) com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Millsboro, DE
    Posts
    147
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    Sadly, there's a huge need for qualified people to analyze and fix improper HVAC installations.

    Bypass the college degree, and improve on your "Hands On" background instead. Take any ACCA course taught by Hank Rutkowski, PE (literally "Wrote The Book" insofar as ACCA Manuals go) to learn about design, and a duct troubleshooting/air balancing course. The buy yourself some digital instruments (manometer, flow hood and velometer) if you don't already have them. With your background, you'll be decades ahead of me at that age (I even thought I knew it all then)!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    718
    Posts
    411
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    Get a job as a Thermostat Repairer in NYC great benefits over 100$ an hr for OT and a good retirement from nycers
    when in doubt swap it out....NOT!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Millsboro, DE
    Posts
    147
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    $100/hour in NYC - would he be able to afford a coffee there?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    718
    Posts
    411
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    No that’s why you live in jersey lol
    when in doubt swap it out....NOT!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Louisburg Kansas
    Posts
    1,959
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    You have some good tips here. I went from mechanical design engineer to TAB technician. The engineering degree was a real asset doing TAB but if you apply yourself and learn the fundamentals you will be in demand. The reason I didn't get into controls was you will almost certainly be on call 24/7 a lot. You do have to learn a lot about controls to be a good troubleshooter but mainly you need to know if they are working properly. You don't have to fix them. Don't get me wrong controls are very interesting and challenging. To me TAB is interesting, is challenging at times and you have good troubleshooting tools.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Millsboro, DE
    Posts
    147
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    And it's a field where you have job security forever: Your workload increases every hour of every day because of people who are undertrained and/or lazy and/or larcenous and/or living better through chemistry. And the only advertising you (or the company you work for) will ever need is the best kind and free (word of mouth).

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