Brice Pfrehm is already several steps into his “journey of a thousand miles.” He’s taken the first few “bites of the elephant.”
Ancient Chinese philosophy and African proverbs aside, Pfrehm understands much preparation remains before he reaches his career goal.
Pfrehm, 18, is a 2022 graduate of Piedmont High School and a graduate of Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC) program.
Pfrehm (sounds like picture “frame”) sought to use the skills he acquired to help pay for college. The wager is paying off during his freshman year while majoring in mechanical engineering at Oklahoma State University.
He recently accepted a job offer at OSU’s HVAC lab and now works alongside mostly post-graduate students. His primary duties include installation and modification of equipment, ductwork, brazing (or connecting refrigerant tubing to equipment) and electrical work.
Fortunately, he said he was properly prepared for the work at Canadian Valley.
CV Tech’s HVAC program results in graduates becoming HVAC apprentice technicians. This means they can work under the supervision of a licensed journeyman on job sites.
More importantly, CV Tech’s program counts as two of the three years required to sit for the journeyman licensure exam. Journeymen technicians can operate independently through a licensed HVAC contractor.
Median pay (half earn more and half less) for a licensed journeyman technician is over $23 per hour, according to information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 10-year job outlook is projected to grow modestly, according to BLS data.
“I plan to continue field work during summers and other breaks to finish up my journeyman hours,” Pfrehm said.
He also hopes to earn internships for engineering experience while at college, he said.
Pfrehm excelled in the classroom while at CV Tech. He is a two-time National Technical Honor Society recipient. He was named Student of the Year in the HVAC program in 2022.
He said he highly recommends a technology center education, particularly with current industry employment needs statewide.
“At CV Tech you have a teacher that enjoys what he teaches you,” he said. “CV Tech has given me an opportunity unlike any other. In a lot of cases, tech schools can truly be a better option than college. At any point I could drop whatever I’m doing and get a job within four phone calls.”
CV Tech offers HVAC at El Reno and at its Chickasha Campus. High school students and some adults attend classes for half a day. Most programs can be completed within two calendar years (from August to May).
Adults may also attend classes all day and complete most program in 10 months. A new evening HVAC program has been added at El Reno for adults. It operates from 3:30 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and includes a 30-minute dinner break. For more information, visit cvtech.edu, or call (405) 262-2629.