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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I would appreciate any help you guys can give me for getting into the HVAC trade. I am actually a roofer and a partner in a roofing company but I have always had a high interest in HVAC. I have even posted in the roofing section here before. I am not even 25 yet but have been very successful in the company I work for and am a very quick learner that I was able to move up in the company I work for. Although I do more of the business aspect of it now, I spent most of the years doing the hard labor and occasionally I still do. Problem is, I don't know how much longer I want to be involved with this trade and I want to be able to pass something down to the children when the time comes. Also, I dont want to have to put shingles on when im 40 incase something happens where the situation arises.

I guess I just want to know how to get started and if the money is in it like their is roofing. Like I said, I know nothing about the trade so I will appreciate all and any thoughts you give me about the trade.

Thanks.
 

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Hola Amigo

If you live in michigan, think about doing something else - Medical Related.
There are a million contractors, 100 million licensed, and about a billion side jobers.
The money is there 4 months out of the year, for the other 8 you may need to resort to fetching shopping carts.

In all get into the union - especially if you are new to the game.

P.S.
Selling my vac pump and recovery machine.
Peace out!!
 

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I'm going to college for 4 years to learn HVAC. It's a Bachelor of Science in HVAC and Appliance Repair. They also have a 2 year program if you just want an associates degree.
 

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***** night courses and college, just *****ing jump in. Grab your *****ing sack and move forward.
Some of us want to be well rounded individuals. Wouldn't you be impressed if the guy you hired to fix your refrigerator showed up in a nice suit and chatted art and Greek philosophy with you while he worked?

Thought so. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I live in the Milwaukee WI area.

Willworkforbeer - You make it sound to easy. Remember, at my current job I pretty much do everything the boss used to do. It is not as easy for me just to quit working because it not only affects me, but other employees until I could train someone to do what I do.

Ive always found it better to learn what you are going to be doing by actually doing it, not by going to college. I already went to college and is bored me to death although it was easy. That is why I was looking at apprenticeships. I didnt know there just classes you could take. None the local technical schools offer courses, only apprenticeships in it. It also seems to correspond with roofing because ive talked with roofers who went to school for HVAC and said after apprenticeship they got roofing jobs because of the sheet metal aspect which I already know a lot of.


I just mainly wanted to know how much of a future their actually is in the field and what the earning potential could be. Since I live in WI I only get to work 9 months out of the year and make 40000-45000. If the earning potential is only 45000 for a whole 12 months, I would see no point in it but after having a guy come and put some freon in my AC unit then say I owe him 150, the money must be good.
 

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I live in the Milwaukee WI area.

Willworkforbeer - You make it sound to easy. Remember, at my current job I pretty much do everything the boss used to do. It is not as easy for me just to quit working because it not only affects me, but other employees until I could train someone to do what I do.

Ive always found it better to learn what you are going to be doing by actually doing it, not by going to college. I already went to college and is bored me to death although it was easy. That is why I was looking at apprenticeships. I didnt know there just classes you could take. None the local technical schools offer courses, only apprenticeships in it. It also seems to correspond with roofing because ive talked with roofers who went to school for HVAC and said after apprenticeship they got roofing jobs because of the sheet metal aspect which I already know a lot of.


I just mainly wanted to know how much of a future their actually is in the field and what the earning potential could be. Since I live in WI I only get to work 9 months out of the year and make 40000-45000. If the earning potential is only 45000 for a whole 12 months, I would see no point in it but after having a guy come and put some freon in my AC unit then say I owe him 150, the money must be good.
I've got a son who just got his masters in mechanical engineering, can not find a job to save his life. He has no hands on physical experience other than school, cant fix his own car, you get my point?(son and I arent talking right now cause he's ten times smarter then me :no:) Roofing is rough work and I'm sure HVAC has its moments too so you have that covered. Just get yourself on a HVAC crew eventually and grow from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Willworkforbeer - Thanks for that heads up... a cousin of mine got a bachelor degree in business a few years ago, he is now a roofer working for my uncle. I am sure that HVAC can be a hard job but I am used to hard work. I guess I am just just looking for a backup plan for when I am older. I also got a booklet on apprenticeship and it pays 18 an hour for the first year up to 31 at the 5th year so thats pretty solid for someone who is learning. It also sounds interesting and that the days wont seem slow.
 

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What to do?

I’m a licensed contactor, and a mechanical engineer. At the moment I am doing more engineering work than contracting. So it goesssss. My point is the more avenues of experience in any given trade, the better off you will be. I can’t tell you about roofing, but I can tell you that there are many avenues you take in the HVAC trade. My advice; if you are just starting out and are not perusing a formal education is to get into a STATE REGISTERED apprenticeship program. I am currently chairman of one such program so here are my insights on how the concept works. Hope it helps.

Do an Internet search for such a program in your area. Contact the administrator/s of the program (most of them will have links to websites) and get, or fill out an employment application. Once you return the application the program will broadcast fax to their members and the interested ones will hire you. Remember; there are no guarantees here, and you have to sell yourself on any interview. If you last through the employer's probationary period they will then sponsor you into the apprenticeship program. The one I oversee is a three-year "Service/Installer" certification. This one is a registered Non Union program (sometimes referred as GNJ Group Non Joint) that will provide the classroom instruction, and your boss will provide you 2000 hours per year OJT. You will go to class probably two nights a week (at your expense) for approximately 200 hours of classroom instruction per year. When you graduate, you will most likely have a Freon certification, and possibly even a NATE certification. Those are thing that my program offers. Pay attention to the minimum pay scales through out your program. The state requires that each program establish a minimum pay scale and enforce these rates. You can make a lot more, but you employer can’t pay you less than the programs minimums. Our current minimums are first year @ $10/hr, second year @ $12/hr, and 3 year @ $14/hr. Remember that these are minimums. Typical pay rates for experienced (3 years or more after graduation) "Service/Installers", Non Union, is $15-$25 per hour in the southern area.

All programs offer different things so shop around.

Let me just say that service is one avenue. The company I work for has residential service, commercial service, industrial service, residential installers, commercial installers, service managers, field supervisors, pipe fitters, pipe welders, controls technicians, test and balance technicians, insulation installers, salesman, sales engineers, design engineers, and of course contractors. Obviously many possibilities, many avenues, and pay rates.

Don’t let this economic BS get you down. I have been in this trade for many years and it always bounces back. Good luck.
 

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I’m a licensed contactor, and a mechanical engineer. At the moment I am doing more engineering work than contracting. So it goesssss. My point is the more avenues of experience in any given trade, the better off you will be. I can’t tell you about roofing, but I can tell you that there are many avenues you take in the HVAC trade. My advice; if you are just starting out and are not perusing a formal education is to get into a STATE REGISTERED apprenticeship program. I am currently chairman of one such program so here are my insights on how the concept works. Hope it helps.

Do an Internet search for such a program in your area. Contact the administrator/s of the program (most of them will have links to websites) and get, or fill out an employment application. Once you return the application the program will broadcast fax to their members and the interested ones will hire you. Remember; there are no guarantees here, and you have to sell yourself on any interview. If you last through the employer's probationary period they will then sponsor you into the apprenticeship program. The one I oversee is a three-year "Service/Installer" certification. This one is a registered Non Union program (sometimes referred as GNJ Group Non Joint) that will provide the classroom instruction, and your boss will provide you 2000 hours per year OJT. You will go to class probably two nights a week (at your expense) for approximately 200 hours of classroom instruction per year. When you graduate, you will most likely have a Freon certification, and possibly even a NATE certification. Those are thing that my program offers. Pay attention to the minimum pay scales through out your program. The state requires that each program establish a minimum pay scale and enforce these rates. You can make a lot more, but you employer can’t pay you less than the programs minimums. Our current minimums are first year @ $10/hr, second year @ $12/hr, and 3 year @ $14/hr. Remember that these are minimums. Typical pay rates for experienced (3 years or more after graduation) "Service/Installers", Non Union, is $15-$25 per hour in the southern area.

All programs offer different things so shop around.

Let me just say that service is one avenue. The company I work for has residential service, commercial service, industrial service, residential installers, commercial installers, service managers, field supervisors, pipe fitters, pipe welders, controls technicians, test and balance technicians, insulation installers, salesman, sales engineers, design engineers, and of course contractors. Obviously many possibilities, many avenues, and pay rates.

Don’t let this economic BS get you down. I have been in this trade for many years and it always bounces back. Good luck.

Your a mechanical engineer? Sweet. I am going the school route to get my M.E. than try and make my way into the HVAC field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WRobert. That is what I have done. I contacted the area apprenticeship and found out quite good news. Took an "apptitude test" and scored nearly perfect on it adn the higher the score the higher you get placed so things look good. Also their pay is 18 the first year 20 the 2nd year 23 the third 26 the 4th year and 30 the 5th and final year of apprenticeship. Now I just have to wait to get a phone call but im sort of excited about it.
 

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That is great news BamBamm. The numbers you mentioned must be a union program. I have found that if you enter into a registered program you can just about transfer to any local in the country (as long as they are hiring). Think about this, using your pay rate numbers, where else can you go and increase you base rate of pay 66.66% over the 5-year period with out any previous experience. That’s not too bad. One of the main reasons that my three-year program is still pretty active is that it is what it is (a three year program). The older students have figured out that it only takes them three years and not four or five to gain access into a local up North. Let me clear up a big misconception on that issue, not all locals will let you in even with a three COMPLETION certificate. Rightfully so, but there are a lot of them that will. Keep at and remember, STUDY!
 

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Your a mechanical engineer? Sweet. I am going the school route to get my M.E. than try and make my way into the HVAC field.
Let me just say this without knowing your situation. It is sometimes difficult to get through the academics, but it will help you out Tremendously throughout the rest of your career.

One other little tid bit if you are just starting out. Consider working for an HVAC company early in your academics say your freshman year. In most cases your company will pay 100% for your books and tuition, and yes, you will have to go to school on a part time, not a full time basis, and it will take you a lot longer to graduate, but there is a bright side. You will not be strapped with 60k of student loans to pay back as you take your entry level first job, and the most important one is that when you finally graduate you will have one thing that the other graduating engineers wont have. EXPERIENCE. While your ex-class mates are trying to get their first gig, you could have enough experience to hook your dream job. Good luck, and my hats off to you for making the commitment.
 

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Let me just say this without knowing your situation. It is sometimes difficult to get through the academics, but it will help you out Tremendously throughout the rest of your career.

One other little tid bit if you are just starting out. Consider working for an HVAC company early in your academics say your freshman year. In most cases your company will pay 100% for your books and tuition, and yes, you will have to go to school on a part time, not a full time basis, and it will take you a lot longer to graduate, but there is a bright side. You will not be strapped with 60k of student loans to pay back as you take your entry level first job, and the most important one is that when you finally graduate you will have one thing that the other graduating engineers wont have. EXPERIENCE. While your ex-class mates are trying to get their first gig, you could have enough experience to hook your dream job. Good luck, and my hats off to you for making the commitment.

Well I am beyound a freshman. I am more of a junior. I probably have about a year and a half left of school

I know what you mean about the experience. I got a lot of experience in manufacturing though. Welding also. Tig and Mig welding. I have worked my way through college for the most part. I am not now because I can see the end of the tunnel and I want to just finish it and get out.
 
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