View Full Version : My local Apprentice Training Classes

30-03-2004, 12:59 AM
Thought this might interest some of you,Roger

Apprentice Schedule of Classes 5 years in length in addition to working in the trade every day
These clases are 2 nights a week

Electrical Theory I (18 weeks) - Concepts of electrical principles used in A/C and refrigeration are explored; to include meters, circuits, contactors, relays, thermostats, pressure switches, motors, overloads, circuitry and troubleshooting. Safe electrical practices are stressed.
Mechanical Systems I Lecture/Lab (36 weeks) - The design, assembly and operation of compression systems to include basic liquid and vapor control, metering devices, design and construction of system piping, including techniques of leak detection, dehydration of systems, charging methods, recovery and troubleshooting.
Brazing & Soldering I Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) - Safety torch techniques, cutting, fitting and brazing of various copper projects will be explored. Further, the techniques for isometric drawing and pipe symbols for soldering and brazing will be practiced.

Electrical Controls II Lecture/Lab (36 weeks) - A sequential approach to exploring basic series and parallel circuits related to A/C and refrigeration. Motors, relays, contactors, thermostats, pressure switches and overloads are examined and wired. The concluding projects are basic A/C and refrigeration systems. Special emphasis will be placed on electrical circuits diagnosis and troubleshooting.
Customer Relations II Lecture (9 weeks) - This course is designed to give students a full appreciation of the value of effective relationships with customers.
Computer Literacy II Lecture/Lab (9 weeks) - This course explores the use, operation, and relevance of the computer and its application to the A/C and refrigeration industry. Major topics of discussion are disks, drives, commands, use of files, and word processing. Both DOS and Window versions will be investigated.
Installation II Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course will explore the various elements of installation as it relates to the air conditioning and refrigeration field. Pipe fitting, layout, gas and arc welding, rigging, pipe threading, anchoring systems and tools and cutting torch procedures will be taught using various hands-on projects. Job safety will be stressed throughout the course.

DDC III Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course will cover Direct Digital Controls pertaining to the Air Conditioning and refrigeration industry: including topics such as transducers, sensors and power supplies, and the techniques of reading input and output voltages. Students will also learn how to make the correct decisions when repairing controls.
Electrical Controls III Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course will cover advanced electrical controls with special emphasis on trouble shooting and repair. Covered will be proportional controls, economizers, and VAV controls. Motor starting techniques will be discussed including Variable Frequency Drives with safety procedures being stressed.
Thermodynamics III Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) Principles of air conditioning and refrigeration will be analyzed through the use of Mollier diagrams to determine COP (Coefficient of Performance), EER (Energy Efficiency Rating), CFH (Cubic Feet per Hour), BTUH (British Thermal Units per Hour) and KW (Kilowatt). The psychometric chart will be explored to measure topics such as Specific Volume, Density, Heat, Sensible and Latent Heat Formulas, Enthalpy and Humidity. Air mixtures will also be examined.
Compressors III Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) The class will include reciprocating compressor disassembly and assembly while developing a working knowledge of compressor function, trouble shooting, alignment, and performance. Unloaders, oils, starters and start-up procedures will be explored. Prominent Trane and Carrier compressors will be examined.

HVAC for Refrigeration Mechanics IV Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) The course covers air conditioning equipment familiarization as utilized in modern supermarkets. The course includes both lecture and hands-on instruction of package systems 5 to 50 tons. Also included are single phase and three phase operation. Heating systems i.e. heat reclaim, heat pumps, and gas heating will be covered.
Market Energy Management IV
Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) The course will cover Market Refrigeration Electronics dealing with Microprocessor based control and monitoring of the entire refrigeration, HVAC, and lighting systems in the supermarket. Emphasis will be on the hardware and its application to the market from the perspective of the following four controllers, CPC, Comtrol, EIL/ECI and DANFOSS. Each class session will consist of lecture with a related hands-on Lab.
Market Applications IV Lecture/Lab (36 weeks) Reading floor plans, refrigeration schedules and piping diagrams in conjunction with laying out undergrounds and overheads in a typical market. Understanding all aspects of component operation and location including; compressors, evaporators, condensers, refrigerated cases, walk-in boxes, heat reclaim, and connecting paraphernalia, i.e. valves, driers, etc...
Air Conditioning
Market Systems for HVAC Mechanics IV Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) The course covers most common refrigeration equipment such as cases, defrost methods, timers, control devices, oil float systems, and heat reclaim controls. Typical market systems will be explored.
Pneumatics IV Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) In this course students will investigate and recognize the operation of direct and reverse acting controls, air compressors, sizing of valves and dampers, thermostats, auxiliary devices, transmitters and receiver controllers. This sequential pattern is reinforced with various lab experiments.
HVAC Systems IV Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) The study of commercial air conditioning systems will be covered in this course. Topics explored are fan laws, fan types, multizones, double duct, retrofit, pneumatic/DDC control, variable frequency drives, thermal storage, and economizers. The main thrust is to demonstrate the interdependency of these component parts.
Heat Loads & Air Distribution IV
Lecture (18 weeks) In this course heat load factors and charts will be explored, developed, and applied to the heat loss and gain of a residential and commercial building. Students will investigate air measurement and air distribution through the study of duct design of residential and commercial buildings.
Advanced Market Troubleshooting V Lecture (18 weeks) Course is being redeveloped for Fall 1998
Market Start Test Balance V Lecture (18 weeks) Course is being redeveloped for Fall 1998
Market Systems V Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) Market refrigeration compressors, piping, refrigerants, metering devices, and low temperature defrost methods will be explored in this course. Various lab projects such as heat reclaim, start-up, and condenser types will be completed. Food and its care are discussed.
Air Conditioning
HVAC Troubleshooting V Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course is being redeveloped for Fall 1998
HVAC Start Test Balance V
Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) In this course, proper procedures for start, test, and balance of air conditioning systems utilizing basic principles of air and water flow will be explored. Other topics explored are fan laws, air movement, pumps, piping, air and water measurement.
Water Chillers V Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course will cover the operation principles of the single-stage, two-stage, and direct-fluid absorption chillers. Students will understand the proper operating principles of the low pressure and high pressure centrifugal water chillers and have a thorough knowledge of a screw type water chiller operation.
HVAC-Direct Digital Control V
Lecture/Lab (18 weeks) This course will cover programming procedures using a CSI controller working with student developed flow charts. Other systems covered will be ALC, Johnson Metasys and Novar. A practical, hands-on approach will be stressed

30-03-2004, 01:54 PM
How am i meant to make them when i work 8-6pm everyday?

(didnt read through all the 5 year course details)
If this course is practicle hands on, with all class work (ie. classroom) relivant to the working "mechanic" then great.

We do a 4 year apprenticeship here, 3 years at tafe - 1 year on the job then sit for a trades test. I'm currently about half way through my 2nd year.

I think 3 years of tafe isnt enough (i go for 3 full days 12 times a year, which is good...) do a module pass it then next time another module on another subject next block. which is great, but you really only get told enough information in the time available to just start to grasp the "general concept" before woosh! onto something else.

What are the apprentiseships durations like around the world? If you do not have any then what did you have to do to become a qualified fridge man in your time?

30-03-2004, 09:22 PM
Bones ,
I started first by going to a community college and got my A. S. Degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, then I joined the Union as an apprentice and served 5 years working for various contrators until I turned out as a journeyman. I worked another 5 years for the same contractor duing service and construction and going to union school for my certifications (more money) in the different parts of the trade. I took a special interest in controls, Pneumatics was big at the time. Then I went to work for the County of L.A. and worked there for 26 years and I retired at age 56 and went back to university for my teaching degree in vocational ed. and my teaching crenditials. I teach PT at a community college. I love this trade and it's always been much more then a job, it's been a career as much so as a DR/Lawyer for me. There are so many things you can do in this business. The only thing you need is self motivation and you got to love it. Believe me, Marc O'Brion has the best attitude you can have to be a success in the business follow his lead.
Roger ;)

30-03-2004, 09:47 PM
Here in the UK we have to follow the City and Guilds- now NVQ

To get level 2, which is really the bare min, you have to attend college for about 8 hours per week for 2 years. You will learn refrigeration theory, brazing,pipework,electrics,install practice,loads of workshops and have to build a coldroom from scratch. After that some of us do level 3 which specialises a bit more. As well as that theres the safe handling of refrigerants as well as first aid etc etc.

As well as this I've done loads of other courses over time, chillers, advanced diagnostics,NH3 certificate, loads of product courses from just about every manufacturer out there, but to become a qualified fridgie takes, well officially 3-4 years, but I always say 5 years at least experience is an advantage.


31-03-2004, 08:49 AM
I only got into refrigeration through my local tafe college... finnished high school though... (but hated it, and just did enough to pass) so waisting another 4 years getting a degree at university was not high on my adgenda, neither the years it takes to pay back higher education fees (HECS fees).

so i was checking out the trades and what you do at our local tafe college when a dude came up and said hey, can i help you? sure.

what are you looking to do? well, i'm good on computers, but dont want to spend all day stuck in an office though... i am looking to get a trade, and i'm pretty good with my hands.

How about i show you what i do? ok then...

took me for a walk, showed me fridge units, cooling towers, coolrooms, a/c package units etc.(not really knowing what most of them were at the time but seeing them everywhere all day everyday).

shouldnt you get back i asked? nah, no one wants to see me unfortunately - all of the guys i teach are apprentices who will showup latter in feburary...

so i did my tafe classes around my currant job at the time until someone was willing to put me on as an apprentice... that was 18 months ago, and so far i am gratefull and enjoying my job, just the apprentice wages are fairly dodgy... but you get that, one day they will be better :)

31-03-2004, 09:19 AM
Hi Bones

You are right, the wages do get better. When I was an apprentice I used to think about the wage, but the best thing you can do is stick at it. It's not forever. I struggled on the wage I was paid at the start, but as I got more skilled, the wages went up. Now I earn a decent wage, enjoy my job and know that I will never be out of work.


31-03-2004, 12:16 PM
hi bones,

sometimes, apprentices are quick and get the picture faster then those they work with and this is a problem for senior techs who are not so quick "up stairs".

I understand your situation very good and all I suggest you now is get some privet jobs on weekends, do not use company parts but get your own.

very quick you will be in better terms with your bank manager.

many good young guys do it. the only point is to have your own spares and do not nick from your boss.

james is right, these things take time, but there are a few shortcuts.

manage them with wisedom amd you will do all right.


31-03-2004, 12:28 PM

I used to do jobs at the weekend. The one thing I learnt was good habits, because I'd go and do the jobs, but of course people knew where I worked. I couldn't afford any mistakes or problems, because I could't afford for my company to find out, so to make sure that this didn't happen I had to make sure the job was 100% right. As an apprentice I was a quick learner, and found it frustrating that I seemed more technically aware than some of the senior guys, but earned far less, but I was young and keen to get on at the time- now I'm getting a few grey hairs, and after 14 years of waiting am starting my own business, alot of those people from the weekend jobs know me and I have alot of contacts, so the weekend work may well be useful years later.

Listen to what Chemi has to say-he knows what he's talking about. Especially about using your own tools and spares. DO NOT use the bosses gear, you are bound to get found out. There's work out there, manage your time and money effectively and give the best quality of work you can.

There is no short cut, you just have to persevere be determined and don't give up. It will be worth it in the end-trust me I've been there.

Good Luck

31-03-2004, 02:36 PM
hi james,

years ago I had a tech working for me. I knew that he is about to steal from me, so I made a deal with him, he can do jobs on weekends, he can use my van,( pay per KM) he can use my tools as long as he doesn loose them or break them( in that case the money comes off his wages), never use company parts.
he will not work for my clients.

that was an official contract between us and........... it worked just fine,
I belive in dealing in the open, nothing behind one`s back.

after a few years he left and open his own business and I'm still on good terms with him.

that of course can be done if you pick yourself the right tech.

one more thing is that I think that every apprentice should have a test every year to determine the theoretical and practical level so the good ones can go faster to the job market.

un fortunaly, in my country, there is no such thing and every schmock is a king.

you should see some of the units I get to work on.

the last one I came to, had no oil in the compressor. the tech was only six months after finishing school and could not find the "oil filling port"!!!!!!!!!!

only as example, I'm sure bones can find it real quick, lol :D


31-03-2004, 05:04 PM
Hi Chemi

I think that you are right in what you say. If you have the right tech these things can be done, but I think you have to also be an effective manager to make it work.

I also would think that regularly testing apprentices would be a good thing for the industry, it would help the good ones progress faster, and give an incentive to learn quicker, as well as showing up the less able.

It is amazing though what you see out there. In the last month alone I've come upon a couple of things. The other week I got called out to a air con fault- no cooling. It turns out that the compressor was changed, system had not been evacuated, charged and there was no oil in it. How that thing ran I will never know!! Then someone had been messing with a VRF and put a voltmeter on a 3 phase input-they put the other probe onto a low voltage wire, blew up the PCB and control fuses- and the person who did this was supposed to be an experienced tech!!!. I had to attend another one because someone put vac pump oil in a compressor on a R407C system. The list could go on forever and that doesn't include the refrigeration jobs !!

The same is true over here. There are loads of techs in the trade with no formal qualifications, but it's not the qualifications that matter as much as ability and knowledge. I would be all for testing on a regular basis on practical and theory, as well as new technologies. Bones will do well because he wants to progress and learn- I wish some of the apprentices I have would be the same, but no such luck.

Best Wishes

31-03-2004, 05:29 PM
one more thing that I do,james, is show the customer what I've found wrong,
explain what need to be done, politely, get rid of him, do the right job, make shure all is working well, ask him back, show him that the machine he payed money for is OK now.

it helps me to get this client on my list, get my money faster.

trust is what I want the client to feel when he calls me.

our luck, are those idiots out there who help us make the day.


31-03-2004, 09:32 PM
I couldn't agree with you more Chemi !!!

17-03-2007, 03:10 PM
hi all iam 19 bin doing a/c since i left school when i was 16 and love it including service maintenance and installs i finished my nvq level 2 in sep 2006 and now on my nvq 3 have been out on my own for about 6 to 8 months and love it ihave also worked with other engineers on some jobs which are alot older than me and find them to be rough if u can put it that way from what ihave been tought and shown but they have no qualifications but they just say ihave been doing this all my life but i cant say anything due to my age thanks guys