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In our GO AFTER IT blog series, you'll meet fellow students and grads who committed themselves to chasing their dreams and proving it pays to GO AHEAD toward better opportunities–no matter the obstacles to be overcome.
When you work two jobs just to make ends meet, committing time and money to professional development seems impossible. But thoughts like, "I’m too old!" or "I don’t have time!" are only excuses according to one former student.
Meet Rafael Ramirez, a former construction worker who recently completed his HVAC training at Ashworth College. At 60 years old, the Dominican Republic-born family man chose to pursue professional education in hopes of leaving behind a life living paycheck to paycheck. It worked and, today, Rafael works as chief engineer for a high-rise in his current hometown of Miami.
A: Before I started the HVAC program, I was working in construction but wanted to switch careers to building maintenance. To become maintenance supervisor or chief engineer, I knew I would need to have knowledge in HVAC.
A: I did a lot of research and visited several local HVAC schools in the Miami area but they all took too long and were too expensive. The least expensive program was about $9,000 and would take about three years to complete.
A: I went online and checked several schools offering similar online programs, but I was impressed with the information in the Ashworth College website and the testimonials from students.
A: It took me 17 months to complete the course.
A: I was working full time at Castle Group, part-time at Home Depot, and studying all at the same time. That’s why it took me a little longer to complete the program. I was working Monday through Friday 8-5 and weekends in the mornings, so I had to study late every night when it was quiet.
A: HVAC training helped me tremendously in my new career. I was hired as maintenance supervisor for a high-rise building. I had supervisory experience but didn’t know much about cooling towers, compressors, or HVAC equipment, including AC units. I took my classes online and used the mechanical rooms in the building as my lab where I practiced what I was learning in every assignment.
After completing the course, I got a $10,000 raise and secured my position. On my second year evaluation, I received another $10,000 raise! My starting salary with Castle Group at the Emerald Bay building was $42,000 and today I earn $67,000 plus bonuses. Thanks to my HVAC training at Ashworth College, I am one of the top maintenance supervisors/chief engineers at Castle Group. I also don’t need a second job anymore!
A: I earned the EPA 608 Universal HVAC technician certification (certified by Mainstream Engineering in Florida). I have published a series of videos to help other technicians earn their certification on my YouTube channel.
A: Yes, there’s a section in the HVAC course where I learned all the material needed to pass the EPA 608 certification exam.
A: I encourage anyone who wants to become a HVAC technician but doesn’t have the time to sit in classroom to take this HVAC course at Ashworth College. After graduation, you will have the knowledge and credentials for a better job.
Stories like Rafael’s are exactly why we do what we do. It's so worthwhile when affordable online career training helps someone go after an educational or career goal and achieve it!