CAREER CHANGE TO HVAC?

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

90 months ago

I'am a 35year old male about to make a career change from carpentry to HVAC,I would like to know is HVAC a good career or not? SERIOUS ANSWERS PLEASE,THANK YOU!

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Stephanie in El Cajon, California

89 months ago

Absolutely! HVAC is a great career to go into. I currently work in San Diego and have helped a company start a HVAC training program because the industry continues to lose their journeymen to retirement. The pay is excellent, in San Diego you can make from 13.00-18.00 in the first year. The sky is the limit after you have a few years of experience.
To cement the fact that HVAC is an excellent career choice, look around at everything that needs to be refrigerated (airplanes, buildings, refrigerated trucks, ships) as the climate changes and the summer gets longer, AC will become mandatory in more and more areas.
Not only can you make money with a company, you can also work on your own and take on projects after hours. All the HVAC techs I know easily bring in $80,000 a year.

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Stephanie in El Cajon, California

89 months ago

It will be a career. With every year you have on the job and gaining experience, you will receive more money and more knowledge in the field. Its a difficult job but you have experience working with your hands and you are familiar with a physically challenging job. Good luck!

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

89 months ago

Thank You dearly for your response Stephanie in El Cajon,Ca.I also have another question? I'am 35 years old now and I don't have a certificate or degree in any line of work and I've been a LABOR/CARPENTER HELPER for 9 years now and I hate it!So I need too know would you change your career to HVAC or some type of ENGINEER? Answer this question to the best of your knowledge and explain why,HVAC or ENGINEERING?

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Stephanie in Encinitas, California

89 months ago

Dmj- If you are looking to obtain a certificate quickly I would go with the HVAC certificate. You live in Texas and you see the importance of having an A/C unit that works. There was a trade show last week that taked about the despiration that many HVAC companies are feeling because they don't have enough employees to serve their clients.
No question I would get a certificate in HVAC over Engineering. the reason I lean toward HVAC is you can become nationally certified and go anywhere in the US for work. With engineering you would need to think about what area you want to focus and it is more likely that you will be required to get a BS degree instead of just a certificate.

If you want to see what the Worksource Ceter has regarding training in Houston you can call 713-661-3220 X 255. I spoke with Cherise Charles and she will help you find a good training program near you.
Stephanie

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Stephanie in El Cajon, California

89 months ago

For us here in San Diego they have work all year long. Not only are you working on the A/C but you also work on the heating. The systems that were created 20+ years ago need to have techs come out and repair them frequently. Now they have new systems that have a computer. The benefit of the training is you will get experience on the old and the new systems.

There is such a shortage right now and the shortage will continue as more and more people retire from the field. Currently only 1 person is going into construction to every 5 that leave. The odds are in your favor.

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

89 months ago

Thank You Stephanie for your answers and advice,I really hope this skill/trade help me accomplish my goals,you have really helped me make a decision that I couldn't do by myself,also if you have anymore information or advice about the HVAC field please don't hesistate to e-mail me.Thank you again Stephanie,Don

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Stephanie in El Cajon, California

89 months ago

Anytime Don, I'm glad to help. Good luck!

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salim in San Antonio, Texas

89 months ago

Dmj in Houston, Texas said: Is it true that HVAC is seasonal work? It suppose to be a lot of work in the summer,and slow in the winter is that true Stephanie?

not in texas if you work for a good company, thw work might get a little bit slow in the winter, but if you will be involved in refrigeration, then you wont have to worry about it!! Anyway an answer for your earlier question, HVAC is a good trade, but you have to make sure that you dont suffer from a bad back, as everything si heavy. good luck

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

89 months ago

What other trade/skill are in demand right now and will be in demand in the near future? PLEASE BE SPECFIC,thank you

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New Commer in Washington, District of Columbia

89 months ago

Dmj in Houston, Texas said: How far can I go with HVAC? I was told you can get an ASSOCIATES DEGREE in HVAC,is that true? OR can I get A BACHLOR or MASTER'S DEGREE?

You can go with the certificate in HVAC or get the associate degree in HVAC with any of it you can't go wrong.

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Cynthia in Chicago, Illinois

88 months ago

Dmj in Houston, Texas said: I'am a 35year old male about to make a career change from carpentry to HVAC,I would like to know is HVAC a good career or not? SERIOUS ANSWERS PLEASE,THANK YOU!

I actually work at an HVAC Trade School and my whole family is revolved around HVAC. Just like every other job there are its ups and downs but when its up its really up. The pay is great and living in Chicago there is always a need for an HVAC Technician. My only suggestion is that the most work is in areas where you can experience all four seasons that way the job is never low.

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

88 months ago

thanks for you comment,

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

88 months ago

Cynthia in Chicago, Illinois said: I actually work at an HVAC Trade School and my whole family is revolved around HVAC. Just like every other job there are its ups and downs but when its up its really up. The pay is great and living in Chicago there is always a need for an HVAC Technician. My only suggestion is that the most work is in areas where you can experience all four seasons that way the job is never low.

Thank you Cynthia in Chicago Illinois your reply is greatly appreciated.)Now I have another question foryou Cynthia,hopefully you can help me with some good advice] Does HVAC work gets slow in the winter season?(2)If you had to choose a career change between HVAC or Engineer,which one would you choose?Question(3)Can I go higher in HVAC education,farther than a associate's degree,if so how far? PLEASE ANSWER WITH YOUR TRUE AND HONEST OPINION,I APPRECIATE IT.Don in Houston Tx

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Dmj in Houston, Texas

88 months ago

Thank you for your comments Cynthia,this information you are sharing with me is very helpful because I'am really trying to change my career from carpenter to HVAC Engineer,and I'm 35 years old now so I need to make a decision now before it's too late,THANK YOU CYNTHIA.

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MARTIN BUXTON in Hassop, United Kingdom

88 months ago

Stephanie in Encinitas, California said: Dmj- If you are looking to obtain a certificate quickly I would go with the HVAC certificate. You live in Texas and you see the importance of having an A/C unit that works. There was a trade show last week that taked about the despiration that many HVAC companies are feeling because they don't have enough employees to serve their clients.
No question I would get a certificate in HVAC over Engineering. the reason I lean toward HVAC is you can become nationally certified and go anywhere in the US for work. With engineering you would need to think about what area you want to focus and it is more likely that you will be required to get a BS degree instead of just a certificate.

If you want to see what the Worksource Ceter has regarding training in Houston you can call 713-661-3220 X 255. I spoke with Cherise Charles and she will help you find a good training program near you.
Stephanie[/QUOTE

Hi stephanie , i too would like to change my career to a hvac engineer/serviceman.

i currently live in the uk but will be emigrating to HOUSTON early next year with my wife(nurse) and would be grateful for someone to point me in the right direction for how and where i could get the training/courses for this field of work eg phone numbers or email contacts.

thanx MARTIN BUXTON
ENGLAND.

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stacey meister in Oatman, Arizona

87 months ago

I live in Bullhead City Arizona.I would like to relocate.Any body know of someone who needs help?I have 26yrs of sheetmetal mechanic and hvac installer and about a year and a half of service work.Iam 56years old so im looking for opportunities.Thank-you.

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salim in San Antonio, Texas

86 months ago

Martin,

I was i England too before doing A/C work. if you have your city & guild form the Uk, this is enough for you to cover your education. you would simply need to get a techinician EPA certification that you normaly get from Main supplier like York or Carrier. Anyway once in Houston, just call any A/C company or A/C suppliers, they will tell you where you will get that certification. it will cost you about $100. not sure how much it is now.
Anyway you better get used to work on roof top units, as there are not VRVs and too many split systems as the ones used in england. Chillers are widely used though.
I dont blame you coming to the USA!! Life is getting extremely expensive in the UK.

Good luck.

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salim in San Antonio, Texas

86 months ago

Dmj in Houston, Texas said: Thank you Cynthia in Chicago Illinois your reply is greatly appreciated.)Now I have another question foryou Cynthia,hopefully you can help me with some good advice] Does HVAC work gets slow in the winter season?(2)If you had to choose a career change between HVAC or Engineer,which one would you choose?Question(3)Can I go higher in HVAC education,farther than a associate's degree,if so how far? PLEASE ANSWER WITH YOUR TRUE AND HONEST OPINION,I APPRECIATE IT.Don in Houston Tx

This is a Degree upto PhD Level in Architectural engineering. it is all about HVAC in buildings and industrie. They wont know anything about service work. but about the design, of units, Temperature control systems and all the stuff that a technician ends up adjusting, they do it, plus it stsrt going more into Energy saving stuff.

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CF in Tokyo, Japan

86 months ago

Ive been a HVAC Tech for about 2 years with a government installation here in Japan. I need/want to take it to the next level (i.e. more deeper knowledge of evacuation/charging etc.) Id like to know if thats (2 years exp.)is enough to get a job in the states. Im working on the NATE certs and have some other certs as well. I am an American citizen. Thanks.

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MARTIN BUXTON in Swadlincote, United Kingdom

86 months ago

salim in San Antonio, Texas said: Martin,

I was i England too before doing A/C work. if you have your city & guild form the Uk, this is enough for you to cover your education. you would simply need to get a techinician EPA certification that you normaly get from Main supplier like York or Carrier. Anyway once in Houston, just call any A/C company or A/C suppliers, they will tell you where you will get that certification. it will cost you about $100. not sure how much it is now.
Anyway you better get used to work on roof top units, as there are not VRVs and too many split systems as the ones used in england. Chillers are widely used though.
I dont blame you coming to the USA!! Life is getting extremely expensive in the UK.

Good luck.


hi salim,
Here in england i am a welder so i'm looking at a whole new career change so that means i will be starting from scratch- how long to get needed qualification to actually start working as hvac technician?

thanks for your time.

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Salim in San Antonio, Texas

86 months ago

Well, changing to HVAC will take you about 2 years for an associate degree ( and that is all what they have). before that you wont be making any good money! it will be hard. if you area welder, I would try the oil industry in houston, and stick to your trade or other construction industry. again even when you get the diploma, it will take you at least three years to start mastering the servie and install of the HVAC equipment, and before that they will drain you to make a little bit of money! now if you already had experience from england working on chiller and all that, it would have been different! If I were you i would stick to welding!

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stacey meister in Bullhead City, Arizona

86 months ago

I have been in the A\Cbusiness all my life and i couldnt agree more

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MARTIN BUXTON in Banbury, United Kingdom

86 months ago

Not really what i was after hearing but oh well .
I'm not too bothered about earning big bucks staight away it,s more of a long term project than making a quick buck.
you say stick to welding _ you obviously have never done any welding - the temperture in HOUSTON is hot enough without being stuck in a welding mask.
My wife and i are going to houston to start a new life i just thought that hvac would be a good job opportunity, maybe i need to look elswhere - thanks for your constructive comments.

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Salim in San Antonio, Texas

86 months ago

Well I said what I know, and stacey agrees to what i said as it is the fact!! you will lose nothing by coming to try for yourself! so just come and do it. Good luck.
HVAc rookies make about $10.00 an hour which is aout 5 pounds an hour.
just an example. but again, nothing to lose!! come give it a try then.

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MARTIN BUXTON in Banbury, United Kingdom

86 months ago

thanks for comments - $10 an hour is fine, if that is the going rate so be it - all i know is $10 goes further in texas than £5 does in the uk eg one gallon of petrol nearly £5 at the moment.

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John in Houston, Texas

86 months ago

As a retired manager of Facility Operations and Maintenance I can tell you that the skills of the various HVAC techs I had over the years was over a large range. The best Techs soon get discovered in their area and can almost charge any rate they want. In 1985 I was the Mechanical Division Manager for Holmes & Narver/ Morrison Knudsen at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. HVAC was one of the shops under my responsibility. My HVAC Shop Foreman, Bruce Bentley did work outside and charged $30 hour even back then when others charged $12. His clients were primarily doctors and realtors. Their comment was," yes he is more expensive but he is reliable and you never have to call him back on his work." My comment is, if you're going to train to be an HVAC Tech, work hard at it and settle for nothing less than being the best. Get every seminar possible to keep up after your primary training. It will pay dividends and give you a real sense of pride. Imagine being called to hospitals, or other large facilities to solve problems others cannot.

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Salim in Austin, Texas

86 months ago

John in Houston, Texas said: As a retired manager of Facility Operations and Maintenance I can tell you that the skills of the various HVAC techs I had over the years was over a large range. The best Techs soon get discovered in their area and can almost charge any rate they want. In 1985 I was the Mechanical Division Manager for Holmes & Narver/ Morrison Knudsen at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. HVAC was one of the shops under my responsibility. My HVAC Shop Foreman, Bruce Bentley did work outside and charged $30 hour even back then when others charged $12. His clients were primarily doctors and realtors. Their comment was," yes he is more expensive but he is reliable and you never have to call him back on his work." My comment is, if you're going to train to be an HVAC Tech, work hard at it and settle for nothing less than being the best. Get every seminar possible to keep up after your primary training. It will pay dividends and give you a real sense of pride. Imagine being called to hospitals, or other large facilities to solve problems others cannot.

you are right about what you are saying, but remember that hospitals have maintenance contracts with well known companies with a millions or 2 insurance bond. they dont call john from around the corner. but again you are right, after years you can be good and make money if you work for yourself.

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richard riley in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

86 months ago

I currently work for a boiler company here in pa,Burnham boilers.so i decided to get a 2 yr degree in hvac. My question is.Will the time ive spent working with units and knowing the parts help me in school?if not is there anything i can study at work to get familar with the field

thanx
Rick from pa

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Brad in Tallahassee, Florida

86 months ago

Input needed. This may not be the best place to ask but will try anyway. Will an online school prepare you equally for a job in HVAC, as opposed to a technical school where you attend classes? Online is so tempting with my schedule. However there is a Tech school in my town. Does it make a difference?

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John in Houston, Texas

86 months ago

Yes welding can be a very hot job as well as hard on the eyes after a while. Consider this about HVAC. On every job when you arrive there is no AC and as soon as you get it going you leave and go to another hot place to fix another AC. Therefore you never get to saty in and enjoy the AC.hahaha! However it can be fun and rewarding.

MARTIN BUXTON in Banbury, United Kingdom said: Not really what i was after hearing but oh well .
I'm not too bothered about earning big bucks staight away it,s more of a long term project than making a quick buck.
you say stick to welding _ you obviously have never done any welding - the temperture in HOUSTON is hot enough without being stuck in a welding mask.
My wife and i are going to houston to start a new life i just thought that hvac would be a good job opportunity, maybe i need to look elswhere - thanks for your constructive comments.

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Chris in Longview, Texas

85 months ago

Dmj in Houston, Texas said: I'am a 35year old male about to make a career change from carpentry to HVAC,I would like to know is HVAC a good career or not? SERIOUS ANSWERS PLEASE,THANK YOU!

If you like to crawl in attics at 150 degrees all summer and make no money in the winter, and put your family last... It's a Great Career!

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Al in Scottsdale, Arizona

85 months ago

Hvac is a good carreer chouce.Going to a 2 year college is a good idea the real clincher is when you go through a apprenticeship program thatn is sponsored by your local union,An HVAC occupation is goog because unions have made it so.

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Chris in Longview, Texas

84 months ago

Al in Scottsdale, Arizona said: Hvac is a good carreer chouce.Going to a 2 year college is a good idea the real clincher is when you go through a apprenticeship program thatn is sponsored by your local union,An HVAC occupation is goog because unions have made it so.

That's great if your in a union!

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Jenny in United Kingdom

84 months ago

We are in the UK. My husband has 30+ yrs experience in the hvacr business mostly commercial and industrial A/C, chillers and gas and oil combustion too. We really want to relocate to the States through his work. We love Florida but is it "overdone" with technicians and should we look at other states. Any advise would be gratefully received. Thanks!!
I hope it works out for you Martin - never been to Houston but it must be good to make you move there!

Jenny, Sussex, UK

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Jeff in Houston, Texas

84 months ago

Is there a school in houston that can provide a short term extensive training before you can get your EPA cert. I am thinking of going 2yrs. for HVAC but if there is a shorter term that would be great. Please help.

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Sean in Houston, Texas

83 months ago

Jeff in Houston, Texas said: Is there a school in houston that can provide a short term extensive training before you can get your EPA cert. I am thinking of going 2yrs. for HVAC but if there is a shorter term that would be great. Please help.

Go to www.sanjac.edu/9185.html and look under Technical Programs. There is a 16 week Certificate Program.

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Ben in London, United Kingdom

83 months ago

Al in Scottsdale, Arizona said: Hvac is a good carreer chouce.Going to a 2 year college is a good idea the real clincher is when you go through a apprenticeship program thatn is sponsored by your local union,An HVAC occupation is goog because unions have made it so.

I am currently studying part-time in the second year of an HND in Building Services Engineering here in the UK (equivalent to an Associates degree in the US I think) and have been working as a Junior Mechanical Engineer for a large Building Services and general engineering consultancy for around 6 months. I may need to relocate to the US and would appreciate any further advice regarding courses, apprenticeships etc., preferably union run, available in the US, particularly the Bay Area or Chicago regions.

My wife is American so I should have no problems with the immigration requirements but I am interested to know how much job trusting and residency qualifications play a part in getting onto apprenticeships if you are from abroad. I went in for the engineering rather than HVAC service and maintenance route here because apprenticeships and technical courses are hard to come by, but I want to go for the practical side given this is available in the US. I am therefore also interested to know if having an engineering qualification, design and well grounded in theory, but not so practical, would be of help to me in the US. All advice and information is much appreciated.

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mike

82 months ago

brian G in Wilmington, Delaware said: ive been in the hvac field now for about 10 years as a service technician. What i was wondering, what is the next step. What is a higher career move from this. Management, tech support? Any training needed for that? I dont want to be a tech all my life

I was a service tech for 15 years, developed my skills in customer relations, and went into sales for 1 year, then became service manager of a good size contractor. I left that (long story), now manage mechanical maintenance (HVAC, Bldgs. & Grounds) for a university, which is the best job I've ever had.

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mike

82 months ago

Jenny in United Kingdom said: We are in the UK. My husband has 30+ yrs experience in the hvacr business mostly commercial and industrial A/C, chillers and gas and oil combustion too. We really want to relocate to the States through his work. We love Florida but is it "overdone" with technicians and should we look at other states. Any advise would be gratefully received. Thanks!!
I hope it works out for you Martin - never been to Houston but it must be good to make you move there!

Jenny, Sussex, UK

Check out Madison Wisconsin. Every contractor here is seeking top notch service people. Steamfitters Union is easy to get into and strong here. Scale is $32/hr. plus benefits. Good quality of life too.
Trane, Johnson Controls and other large shops are good to work for.

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John White in Houston, Texas

82 months ago

Jenny,

Madison, Wisconsin is a good recommendation if you like the cooler weather and snow. The northern portion of the country has on average better wages and benefits than the south where I am from mostly due to unions.

However if you prefer the warmer weather although you won't get much work with gas and oil fired boilers/ heaters etc you will more than make up for it with cooling in both residential and commercial systems. A field service technician with one of the major chiller companies would be a good job and pay well. If interested I would research them on line and perhaps have a job or at least an interview when you arrive stateside. Let them tell you where they need techs and then ask people here in this site about that area or research it yourself on line. Good luck! I am full blooded English 3rd generation from England myself.

John

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Jenny in United Kingdom

82 months ago

John,

Many thanks for your useful tips - will definitely follow up - sent off for info. on Wisconsin already! Glad you're proud of your heritage - bet you got an American accent though!!!

Jenny

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Jenny in United Kingdom

82 months ago

Thanks Mike for sending that through to us re. Madison.

Jenny

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Dave in San Diego, California

81 months ago

Im in San Diego and am going to be taking classes to get my HVAC certificate. I am just coming out of the military where I have mechanical experience, but nothing close to HVAC/R. Is there any way to get a job while I'm getting my certificate? I would raly apprecate any help.

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jim

81 months ago

HVAC is a good career but you are never home,you are on call for emergencies,I worked in New York city for 20 years yes you will make 20.00-33.00 hr. but now in north carolina the pay is really bad to many mexicans ruining the field they pay between 13.00-18.00hr not worth it for me not to kill yourself .your knees are the first to go.I did it all service tech for 14 years then duct design,layout and fabrication for 6 years. But after a whle your body cannot keep up you do get burnt out. I am looking to do a career change but not in hvac had enough...

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Pat in Portland, Texas

81 months ago

Stephanie in El Cajon, California said: Absolutely! HVAC is a great career to go into. I currently work in San Diego and have helped a company start a HVAC training program because the industry continues to lose their journeymen to retirement. The pay is excellent, in San Diego you can make from 13.00-18.00 in the first year. The sky is the limit after you have a few years of experience.
To cement the fact that HVAC is an excellent career choice, look around at everything that needs to be refrigerated (airplanes, buildings, refrigerated trucks, ships) as the climate changes and the summer gets longer, AC will become mandatory in more and more areas.
Not only can you make money with a company, you can also work on your own and take on projects after hours. All the HVAC techs I know easily bring in $80,000 a year.

I am interested in this career. Are you a woman and how hard is the job?

Pat

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john in Houston, Texas

80 months ago

There is nothing wrong with saving money but one cannot save time when it comes to education. Get the best training and then keep current by taking short seminars over the years. Learn all you can and strive to be the best. Good techs are sought after while average techs are a dime a dozen. If you are not in the field and can afford to, get an entry level position and get hands on while schooling after hours at a junior college.

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Nick in Jackson Heights, New York

80 months ago

I am also thinking of going into some HVAC related career but I will be doing a career change from accounting. I am 32, and already have a college degree and live in the Stamford CT area but willing to relocate.

How would I go about doing this?? Is it possible at this stage??

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John in Houston, Texas

80 months ago

Might I ask why you want to change careers? Is it to get away from accounting or do you just want HVAC because you think you might like it? How much have you researched the HVAC field and what do you think you like about it?

I would imagine with a degree and by now you are doing fairly well salary wise in accounting. You won't start out at the top financially in HVAC, quite the opposite. After training it would take some years of experience to get top wages perhaps. You would undoubtedly have to hang on in accounting while training in HVAC and perhaps still a while while working part time in the field to get experience then make the jump.

Unless you just had to be in HVAC I'd say anyone changing fields today should consider any of the medical fields such as RN in two years, Rad Tech, Nuclear Med Tech two years and they all work inside in good environment and have more opportunity than imaginable. My wife changed fields to become an RN and by year two made $73,000. She did it at age 40 and English was her second language. Male nurses are in great need and do very well. Contrary to some peoples belief all male nurses are certainly not efeminate or gay. My brother in law is an RN here in Houston and made over $100,000 last year counting his overtime.

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MC in La Vernia, Texas

80 months ago

As a wife of an AC tech, be prepared for long night and early mornings. Be sure to prepare for slow months and prepare your family for the high demand of this industry. The money is good but you make a lot of sacrifices...

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