8 Tips for New Techs (So You Don’t Get Fired)

If you are new to the trade, I'd like to welcome you.

If you are young and new to the trade, we need you. We are grateful to have you. However, if you aren't thoughtful, you might get fired.

No offense, millennials often just have a different way of looking at work than their Gen X bosses and trainers.

Here are my 8 top tips to help you make it a great career.

#8 – Act interested (even when you aren't)

I know sometimes your trainer can be boring, but when he is talking, look alive. Literally, I've seen apprentices and wondered if they were actually dead: smelly, unresponsive… you get it.

When someone is attempting to invest in you, it's important that you listen up and pay them the respect they deserve.

#7 – Learn the names of basic tools

I know it can be confusing if you are new, but read up enough so that when your trainer asks for “channel locks,” you don't say, “What's that?” This tip isn't difficult to do, and if you want to get familiarized with some tools, you can look through the HVAC School tool list.

#6 – Keep the music off and the earbuds out

Work isn't the time to be distracted for any reason. That is unless you are listening to the HVAC School podcast… then it's OK.

#5 – Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers

Listen more than you talk. Give eye contact when your manager or trainer is speaking. If you don't understand something, be specific about the part you aren't grasping.

#4 – Repeat back what you heard

Say, “I want to make sure I understood you correctly,” and repeat back what you understood rather than saying OK if you didn't fully understand.

#3 – Look professional

I don't care if your boss or trainer looks like a slob; YOU dress according to the company policy and come to work looking well kept. Obviously, you need to dress job-appropriate, but people naturally respect someone who has a professional appearance.

#2 – Show up on time

Show up 15 mins early. Show up 30 minutes early! This isn't complicated, and bad traffic isn't a valid excuse.


Your friends, Facebook, Snapchat… they can all wait. Give your work your full attention while at work.

Oh, and while you're at it, get good at working on and installing HVAC/R systems. That helps as well.


Related Tech Tips

Watch It, Hercules 
I watched an instructional video the other day where the guy kept palming his gauge manifold and CRANKING down on the valves when he closed them. I've seen techs use channel locks—and even vise grips—to tighten down their gauges “just in case” when they have a hard time finding a leak or a vacuum that […]
Read more
Boiler Basics Part 1 - Types and Components
This series of articles is written by senior boiler tech (and all-around swell guy) Justin Skinner. Thanks, Justin. There are quite a few different types of boilers out in the world. They come in all shapes, sizes, pressures, and types of fuel burned. I'm going to go over some of the more common ones, their […]
Read more
What is a Micron?
To answer the question in the title, we use it as a measurement of pressure. REALLY, it is a measurement of distance. First, any scale CAN be used to measure vacuum (negative pressure) and positive pressure. The trick is knowing which is best suited for which and the size of the scale. Larger units of […]
Read more

6 responses to “8 Tips for New Techs (So You Don’t Get Fired)”

  1. Damn good advice for the younger generation. I have had newbies say that they see me on the phone and I tell them, I receive calls for work, order parts, and schedule on mine. No games or chatting with friends on the job.

  2. Alot of good advice here. Take initiative as well and try to be one step ahead once your abilities are there. Know what tools and materials will be asked for next.

  3. #8,#5 and #4. I’ve washed my hands of new guys on the spot! Nothing more frustrating that teaching someone and spending the extra time to explain it and you turn around and they are in their own little world looking off into space.

  4. Dang good advice especially the get good at working on systems. Nothing frustrates me more than a “salesman” who has no business touching a unit in the first place. It is morally wrong to shut a homeowner off in the middle of the season and make them suffer to make an extra buck. There are other ways to upsale equipment. But forcing people into something in this manner is wrong. You good technicians are much appreciated and keep up the good work. But these idiots who don’t know what there doing please quit or do like I did and learn it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from