I am in the NYC Metro area, and there is no shortage of jobs herer, has been that way since about mid May. Something happened then, and there have been jobs redily available. I am sure someone who is unemployed in the area will argue - I don't wanna fight!! So let me tell you how it worked out for me.

I have 4.5 yrs experience, no trade school, but a number of NATE Certs, and an NCI cert. I recently faced a layoff. I looked and found new work in 4 days. Sent Resumes out on Tuesday night. Got a lot of calls on Wed. ands set up interviews for Friday. I went to 2 interviews, and both made offers. I ended up accepting one offer on Monday, the day before the layoff.

Basically NATE Pays. I know my stuff and have worked VARY hard to know it, but I quickly realized that beyond that I would need independent verification that I do, in fact, really know what I am talking about - because no one would believe me if I said I can design a 20 ton commercial system from evap coils and fan to grilles and louvers, or that I can layout a lead/lag system with automatic switchover and failure alarm from scratch using grainger parts.

I would need to prove it.

So I got a bunch of Certs - I wrote a thread to help you if you want to -
http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=157508&highlight=beat+NATE&page=3
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I also took pictures of my lead lag as I made it and kept them. I have the drawings from the first air balancing job I ever did - a Psyche ward in Harlem hospital NYC. I have the installation Manual I made as a design engineer for a Geothermal manufacturer.

Basically, it is good to be good. It is better to be able to prove to others you are good.

If things are turned around here, maybe they will be turning around soon for the rest of you felas.

Hope it helps!!