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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:51 am
I'm a recently dislocated worker with a chance to go to school for HVAC. I was wondering if this is a good field to get into. I'm very interested in HVAC, from the upper midwest, mechanically inclined and have been in the workforce for 32 years in everything from heavy equipment mechanic, wielding, to various factory work ending with papermaking. But getting on alot of sites, it doesn't sound like this is the best field to get into. I have a chance at another papermill job, but I really don't want to jump back into that fire, lets face it, the paper industry is dying. Alittle heads up from the pros would really be appreciated. Could anyone touch on the pros and cons of this field, Job out look, stability, chances for a 49 year old to make it, things like that. Like I said, I'm really interested in this route but would like to hear from the guys in the trenches. Thanks.
- HVAC field?
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:29 pm
If sschool is paid for go for it. If you are electrically inclined as well as mechanical go for it. You don't want to be a residential installer however for that is very difficult work for older guys. Try to find a company where you can be a maintenance tech. to start out as then work your way to a tech. good luck.
- HVAC field?
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:18 pm
HVAC is becoming (or has become) a much more competitive field. If you find the right company and they put you in the right job it can't get better, but there will be times you hate your work and wonder why you chose the profession.
HVAC will always be needed * Job security
You get to help people when they need it
Pay can be good once you prove yourself
opportunities are good - you have lots of options for work
The work is often dirty and sometimes dangerous
You sometimes have to work in the worst conditions - We're outside in cold weather and in attics in hot weather
There are people waiting to take your job - Every 6 mos another group of graduates comes out of tech school
Short - - I have a degree in Computer Programming and 20 years later, this is my career. I have described it this - Like so many of us, I was on my way to somewhere else and stumbled in to HVAC... and now I'm a lifer. I have taken advantage of most of the opportunities presented to me for furthering my knowledge and experience in the field. Now looking back I can't think of anything significant that I would change. It sounds like you are already familiar with the working conditions of a mechanic. If you have the right mindset and can find the right company it could be a great fit for you. I worked for a company in Upstate NY and during my 6 years there 3 of the 5 people they hired were people over 45 yrs old. - Age isn't an issue for a lot of contractor companies.
You should be prepared as a "new guy" to have to carry things, fetch tools & parts, watch and learn, and generally have a good attitude about whatever you're asked to do. The 3 biggest mistakes made by new techs-in-training -
- Overstepping - Talking to a customer over your training tech or generally saying anything to make him look bad.
2. Complaining - We all know how hot/cold it is and we're all here together -
3. Refusing - The job is sometimes hard/disgusting/painful/dangerous - Do whatever is necessary when asked to (unless it is blatantly reckless)
Last - keep in mind that the company is in business to make a profit. Know how much you cost your company for each hour they pay you for and get that they don't get paid for all of those hours. Your boss might charge $80/hr and pay you $15 but you get paid for shop time - travel time - warranty time - slow/slack time - that they can't bill anyone for so it all works out in the end. Don't get indignant and demanding once you do the math - That's probably new guy mistake #4
Hopefully I haven't scared you away - HVAC is the most personally rewarding thing I have ever had for a job and I've gone from a helper with no experience to an owner/manager in 16 years. Wish you success.