Troubleshooting HVAC equipment doesn't come naturally. Troubleshooting skills must be learned, and fine tuning the required skills takes years of field experience. Due to the investment in time required to become proficient at troubleshooting many entering the HVAC field chose to become installers. The decision to take the path of installer made sense; you could acquire the necessary skills quickly, become proficient, and climb the pay grades relatively fast.
The decision to become a pipe fitter or sheet metal fabricator made allot of sense, until the economy went soft, and construction all but stopped. Now many HVAC installers are without a job, collecting unemployment, and weighing the pros and cons of dipping into their retirement funds. They are without a doubt between a rock and a hard place. While the stock market may be making gains, the construction industry is not, and it doesn't look like either the rock or the hard place is moving anytime soon.
This is the perfect time to take a serious look at going back to school. To be more precise, it's a perfect time to consider switching from HVAC installer, to a <a href="http://zenhvac.com" target="_new">hvac service technician</a>. Just as a soft economy always hurts new construction, it always gives the service sector a boost. This boost in service wont be anything like the construction sector during an economic boom, but it will be a boost all the same. The boost in the service sector will create openings for technicians. By taking the initiative, and continuing your technical education you can be well poised for one of these jobs. The fact that you also have a installation background will make you a very appealing job candidate as you will be able to pull double duty when the need arises.
Transitioning from installer to a service technician requires time as well as training, there's no way around it, and employers know it. You will need to sell yourself on your past experience and willingness to learn in order to secure a job. This will mean taking a lower pay position, possibly as an apprentice, but the experience you will gain is worth it.
When the economy regains its legs, you will be positioned to either take advantage of the renewed construction boom, or continue serving the service sector of the trade. By having both fields under your belt the choice will be yours, and when you have a choice, you have power.