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How to get trained in HVAC and/or steam heating?

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nickdu
nickdu Member Posts: 26
Just doing some research for my son. Seems college didn't suit him. He just told me the other day that HVAC sounds like it might be a good choice for him. He made some good points, like different areas to specialize in: residential, commercial, refrigerated trucks, etc.

I think steam is pretty neat and he might also so I'm wondering how would one best enter the field of HVAC technician or maybe a steam boiler technician, possibly focusing on commercial applications? Are there some highly rated schools that train you for this? Or Is it mostly via apprenticeship?

By the way, he's in Colorado Springs. I get the impression residential steam applications are more prevalent on the east coast just because the homes are older. If one is interested in commercial steam applications would pretty much any area of the US be viable?

I'm nickdu of "Deknuckleheaded nickdu's steam boiler":

https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/143265/so-we-just-de-knuckleheaded-nickdus-steam-boiler

Before having that work done I had bought Dan's books and read through them. Very interesting. Then checked on this site for someone that knows about steam boilers in hopes to get my steam heat working correctly. Luckily I found Joe Star and he did a great job.

Thanks

Comments

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    Still need to go to school. He might luck out and find someone who would take him under wing. Or, he might find someone who would use him as a general laborer and not teach him anything. I have seen both but more frequently, I see a formal trade education to start and often from the military.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
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    If your son is computer smart, I would suggest getting into the commercial controls section of HVAC. A real shortage of techs and it's a lot easier than lugging pipe and boilers. You still need to understand systems and how they work. Maybe PM @Mark Eatherton I think he is in Colorado.
  • nickdu
    nickdu Member Posts: 26
    edited January 2023
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    SlamDunk said:

    Still need to go to school.

    What sort of schooling are you referring to? I think he'd be fine with trade school, just not typical college where 1/2 of the time is spent learning stuff you won't use on the job. If you're referring to trade school and have any suggestion of good ones, that would be great. I was looking for trade schools in the Colorado Springs area. Haven't found what looks like a good one yet.

    He is close to a couple/few air force bases. Not sure whether he'd be interested in enlisting to learn a trade.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Must be a trade tech offering in that area? I'd combine it with working for an HVAC company. Get the book learning while doing hands on.

    A progressive contractor in my area grabs high school kids at the end of class and has them come to his shop for work and training. If it works out they have a job when they finish high school.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Larry WeingartenCLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Mohawk Valley Comminity College in upstate NY has an  HVAC degree that is excellent and if the great "Siggy" is still teaching there, you  couldn't find a better school in the USA to get him started.   The rest he will pick up along the way and thru seminars and books of Mr Holohan,  Ray Wolfarth and some others.  I hope your son sticks with it.  Its a great trade.  Mad 🐕 Dog
  • offdutytech
    offdutytech Member Posts: 133
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    Check local community colleges they often have programs that you can get a two year degree in HVAC or just take HVAC classes for a cert. Search for local union trades programs for apprentice programs. He can get exposure to all aspects of the HVAC industry.
    I started out going to jobs as a kid with my grandfather and dad. Then graduated high school saying i did t want to be in HVAC. Started going to community college and ended up in HVAC. Got exposure to commercial refrigeration, then spent 18 years in the DDC controls industry working for a few controls manufactures. Great experience, but got burned out of the corporate side of things. At 40 became a full time firefighter and now just do HVAC as a side gig. HVAC def has a lot of options and specialties that even have helped me as a now firefighter. 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
    edited January 2023
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    All branches of the military have plumbing and heating shops - even the Reserves.  I have several friends that have done their twenty years in the reserves AND worked full time in the trade. AND got the nice pension. Very good way to go. Talk to your recruiter...Colorado Springs should have a HUGE Air Force Base, I believe.  Good luck.  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    They also provide GREAT FREE training at Uncle Sam.University..AND the GI Bill for free education.   Mad Dog
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    A great union training facility here in PA
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    If u can get in to the "Onion" that would be ideal but its not like you can just walk in and join. It could take a few yrs. Proud UA Member. Local #1. NYC.  37 year member. Mad Dog
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    They DO give priority to Vets.  In Hemet to Hardhats program. I know a few guys that got in that way.  Mad Dog
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,387
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    Hi @nickdu , I know this may seem a bit sideways, but there are not enough technicians who really know how to work on water heaters. It's one of those nice plumbing jobs where you can actually save your clients money, because you can keep their heaters going far longer than most people realize. Heaters also live in nicer places most of the time, so you don't have to crawl around in the mud or over broken concrete much, or spend time in itchy, hot attics. I'd love to see more people become hot water experts! If your son is interested, I'd be happy to work with him. He just needs to want to learn.

    Yours, Larry
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Oh my God..Larry is The Water Heater King.  That would be a privilege to learn from him. Mad Dog
    Larry Weingarten