HVAC Training Schools in Indiana

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In the Hoosier State, frosty winters and hot summers contribute to the high value placed on HVAC professionals and equipment. This is excellent news for people looking to start a career in the industry. Indiana boasts a thriving climate to receive HVAC training and pioneer new technologies in the climate control sector.

Not only are there ample opportunities to learn about HVAC systems in Indiana (IN), but there is also a vibrant networking community to keep these workers supported in their professional development and activities. For example, the Indiana HVAC Association is a not-for-profit association of HVAC workers and contracting companies who commit to provide “top quality expertise and promote the highest level of customer service and business operations throughout the HVAC industry.”

HVAC mechanics and technicians have varied responsibilities including installing, troubleshooting, and repairing HVAC systems and parts (e.g., heat pumps, intake & exhaust fans, ducts, electrical wiring, motors, piping, controls, circuits, furnaces, boilers, starters, unit heaters, economizers, humidifiers); using a manifold gauge set; calculating heat losses & loads; soldering & brazing components; ensuring tools & inventories are well-provisioned; maintaining detailed client records; and keeping all HVAC credentials up to date. Some HVAC professionals choose to be generalist technicians, while others may specialize in a certain type of system (e.g., commercial refrigeration, oil heating, residential units, etc). Although the Indiana State Government Business Owner’s Guide reports that there is no state licensing for HVAC workers, local permits and credentials vary. Also, all US HVAC workers who handle refrigerants are obligated to pursue the EPA Section 608 certification due to the sensitive nature of those chemicals.

This guide serves as a resource to aspiring HVAC professionals in Indiana, detailing the expected growth in the industry, salary prospects, training programs, and certification procedures. Read on to discover how to join this high-growth career.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Workers in Indiana

With extreme climate events on the rise in the US and across the world (theguardian.com 2018), it is no surprise that the demand for skilled climate control professionals is also growing. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) anticipated a 15 percent rise in HVAC openings across the country between 2016 and 2026, significantly higher than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time period (7 percent). And there is evidence that the employment prospects may be even brighter in IN. In fact, CareerOneStop (2016)—a data organization partnered with the US Department of Labor—reported that there would be an 17 percent increase in HVAC positions across IN between 2014 and 2024. Furthermore, HVAC is predicted to be the tenth fastest growing career among people with some college in IN during that time period. Overall, with the projected addition of 1,100 fresh openings in this career field across the state, the employment climate looks very bright for Hoosiers in this line of work.

The BLS (2017) found that around one in ten HVAC workers nationwide were self-employed in 2016, and 64 percent were in the contractors’ industry. Especially during the cold winters across Indiana, residents depend on climate control systems to keep homes and businesses safe and warm; therefore there is typically a steady stream of work, particularly in regions of the state such as Indianapolis with relatively high population growth and a booming construction industry.

As in other parts of the country, some HVAC workers in IN work normal business hours, while others may be called upon to service equipment on weekends, evenings, or even holidays. Since many systems come with service contracts and HVAC equipment generally needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, these skilled professionals can have work throughout the year.

Aspiring HVAC installers and mechanics should be aware that this line of work incurs a relatively high rate of injury compared to other occupations in the US; this is due to the physical nature of the work which carries a higher-than-average risk of muscle strains, tears, electrical shock, and burns. That said, with proper training, prudence, and safety equipment, HVAC workers can usually guard themselves against these maladies.

As a further testament to the thriving employment climate for HVAC workers in IN, Indeed (Oct. 2018) posted 722 relevant jobs across the state, including opportunities at Methodist Hospital, Signal Point Systems, Krooswyk Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, Becht/Givens, and Lennox International, to name a few. Further, Monster (Oct. 2018) advertised 33 additional HVAC positions in IN at places such as Avacend, Inc, Tropicana Entertainment Inc., Omni Hotels Management Corporation, and Tradesmen International Inc., among others.

HVAC Salaries in Indiana

Not only is the career outlook very bright for HVAC professionals in IN, but so too are the salary prospects in this field, especially for a career requiring only one-to-two years of postsecondary training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) found that the 307,060 HVAC professionals nationwide earned an average annual salary of $49,530; while this is slightly higher than the mean salary of $45,420 among Indiana’s 6,430 employed HVAC workers, it is important to note that the cost of living is dramatically lower in IN than most states. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) reported that IN is the tenth most affordable state in the US, boasting savings especially in the areas of housing and groceries relative to the rest of the country. Please keep this fact in mind while evaluating both the national and the Indiana-based salaries in HVAC.

First, the BLS (2017) found the following detailed percentiles among all HVAC workers nationwide:

United States (307,060 HVAC professionals): $49,530 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,120
  • 25th percentile: $36,150
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,080
  • 75th percentile: $60,270
  • 90th percentile: $75,330

In hourly terms, these figures became:

United States HVAC workers: $23.81/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $14.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.38/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.64/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.98/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.22/hr.

It’s worth noting that these countrywide figures varied by source of data. Payscale (Oct. 2018)—a site which relies on people’s self-reported salaries—had 889 HVAC workers which responded with their annual salaries. Among those respondents, the site found the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $36,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,532
  • 75th percentile: $56,000
  • 90th percentile: $71,000

Another 4,873 HVAC professionals gave Payscale (Oct. 2018) their hourly figures. From those, the site reported the following figures:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.24/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

As a basis of comparison, the salary percentiles in IN were roughly on par with Payscale’s national findings and only slightly lower than the BLS numbers. Again, given how much cheaper the Hoosier State is than a majority of the US, these salaries command more purchasing power than they would elsewhere. The BLS (2017) found the following detailed wages among the HVAC workers in IN:

Indiana (5,260 HVAC workers): $45,420 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,820
  • 25th percentile: $34,210
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,410
  • 75th percentile: $54,970
  • 90th percentile: $67,430

Translated into hourly figures, these salaries became:

Indiana: $21.84/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.38/hr
  • 25th percentile: $16.45/hr
  • 50th percentile (median): $20.87/hr
  • 75th percentile: $26.43/hr
  • 90th percentile: $32.42/hr

In addition to varying by source of data, the salary percentiles and averages among HVAC workers also varied by region within Indiana as well. In fact, there were two metropolitan regions in the state which had higher average HVAC salaries than the national mean: Evansville and Kokomo. Here are the numbers of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and wage percentiles among the 16 BLS-designated regions in Indiana (2017):

Bloomington, IN (140 HVAC workers): $47,470 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $32,170
  • 25th percentile: $37,070
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,680
  • 75th percentile: $57,670
  • 90th percentile: $63,230

Central Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area (490 employed): $42,440 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $33,620
  • 25th percentile: $36,240
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,700
  • 75th percentile: $47,710
  • 90th percentile: $52,080

Columbus, IN (50 employed): $45,870 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $27,120
  • 25th percentile: $32,550
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,530
  • 75th percentile: $58,360
  • 90th percentile: $74,000

Elkhart-Goshen, IN (160 employed): $47,270 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $33,970
  • 25th percentile: $38,460
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,250
  • 75th percentile: $52,500
  • 90th percentile: $69,240

Evansville, IN-KY (370 employed): $52,220 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $31,780
  • 25th percentile: $38,610
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,840
  • 75th percentile: $67,950
  • 90th percentile: $80,750

Fort Wayne, IN (630 employed): $47,370 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $30,430
  • 25th percentile: $38,550
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,360
  • 75th percentile: $56,770
  • 90th percentile: $63,740

Gary, IN Metropolitan Division (560 employed): $46,620 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $22,390
  • 25th percentile: $25,480
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,860
  • 75th percentile: $60,550
  • 90th percentile: $88,520

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN (1,930 employed): $48,610 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $29,470
  • 25th percentile: $35,710
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,040
  • 75th percentile: $59,800
  • 90th percentile: $71,260

Kokomo, IN (140 employed): $50,160 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $27,280
  • 25th percentile: $30,740
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,510
  • 75th percentile: $71,420
  • 90th percentile: $78,930

Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN (170 employed): $39,040 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $27,120
  • 25th percentile: $29,510
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,480
  • 75th percentile: $46,850
  • 90th percentile: $55,640

Michigan City-La Porte, IN (120 employed): $39,270 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $18,100
  • 25th percentile: $27,040
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,690
  • 75th percentile: $49,310
  • 90th percentile: $55,090

Muncie, IN (unknown number employed): $45,670 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $31,470
  • 25th percentile: $37,990
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,560
  • 75th percentile: $54,130
  • 90th percentile: $61,540

Northern Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area (430 employed): $34,410 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $23,970
  • 25th percentile: $27,320
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,390
  • 75th percentile: $40,160
  • 90th percentile: $48,100

South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI (230 employed): $44,580 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,530
  • 25th percentile: $35,020
  • 50th percentile (median): $39,150
  • 75th percentile: $54,380
  • 90th percentile: $64,760

Southern Indiana nonmetropolitan area (480 employed): $41,170 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $31,410
  • 25th percentile: $34,900
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,340
  • 75th percentile: $47,120
  • 90th percentile: $51,650

Terre Haute, IN (100 employed): $44,380 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,420
  • 25th percentile: $35,460
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,690
  • 75th percentile: $51,910
  • 90th percentile: $61,610

Accredited HVAC Training in Indiana

Prior to seeking employment in Indiana’s high-growth HVAC industry, it’s crucial to receive the necessary training. Some aspiring HVAC professionals learn the tricks of the trade on the job by enrolling in an apprenticeship. These programs typically last from three to five years, and provide 2,000+ hours of work-related experience, as well as at least 144 hours of technical education. For example, the Indiana chapter of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association provides plumbing and HVAC apprentice schools in the South Bend-Elkhart and Evansville areas. These programs last four years, comprising an impressive 576 classroom hours and 7,600 on-the-job hours.

In addition to apprenticeships, Indiana also is home to a wide array of vocational training programs. There are currently two main organizations which evaluate and accredit schools in HVAC across the country: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). To learn how programs are approved, please review the websites for the agencies or the detailed accreditation section of the HVAC programs homepage.

There is one school with several campuses across Indiana which has received HVAC Excellence accreditation. The Ivy Tech Community College has campuses in Kokomo, South Bend, Evansville, Bloomington, Lafayette, Terre Haute, and Muncie. Ivy Tech provides 21-credit certificates, 32-credit technical certificates, and a 60-credit associate of applied science (AAS) program in HVAC. The coursework at Ivy Tech CC includes several HVAC technology electives, green awareness, the science of traditional & alternative energy, and general education classes. These certificate and degree programs cost $140.61 per credit hour for IN residents and $275.08 for out-of-state residents. Please note that some coursework may be taken online, and military members pay only $111.15 per credit hour.

FORTIS has a campus in Indianapolis which provides a 48-week program in HVAC technician training. FORTIS has instruction in areas such as computerized diagnostics, commercial refrigeration, gas heat, air conditioning, systems operation & testing, and heat pumps. The job placement rate for graduates of this program is 71 percent, and the whole program costs $17,413.

AC/C TECH is also located in Indianapolis and offers a technical certificate in HVAC maintenance technology with career-ready preparation in five areas: electric furnace maintenance, gas furnace maintenance, air conditioning maintenance, EPA technician certification, and heat pump maintenance. This hybrid program (i.e., online and in-person) comprises 200 hours of technical training; 110 hours of online coursework; 40 hours of hands-on training with experienced HVAC instructors; and 50 hours of on-the-job experience through a matched employer. This program costs $2,262.82, including tuition, tools, books, safety equipment, and books. Additionally, AC/C TECH offers an AAS degree in residential & apartment technology which folds in all courses from the above certificate program, as well as training in the maintenance of other residential equipment such as ranges, dishwashers, computer software, wiring, and plumbing, among other parts of a living space.

For some residents of Indiana, attending an HVAC program may be difficult due to time or distance restrictions. Luckily, residents of Indiana may qualify for one of the many online training programs in this field. To learn more about the web-based options, please check out the online HVAC training page.

HVAC Licensing in Indiana

In addition to completing a qualifying apprenticeship or training program, HVAC professionals in Indiana must pursue all necessary credentialing prior to seeking employment in this field. As mentioned above, there is one mandatory credential for all people nationally who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification. There are four categories of this certification:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

There are a number of other organizations which offer competency-based certifications in HVAC. To qualify for these certification exams, candidates typically need to have at least one-to-two years of experience and 144+ hours of technical education. Other certifications may call for letters from employers or additional prerequisites. The HVAC certification agencies across the country include:

To explore the range of national HVAC credentials available, please visit the HVAC certification page.

Lastly, aspiring HVAC workers in Indiana must ensure that they have the appropriate local credentialing as well. According to the Indiana State Government Business Owner’s Guide, the only construction contractors who are licensed by the state of Indiana are plumbers. That said, the HVAC licensing among municipalities within IN varies widely.

As proof of point, the City of Indianapolis issues HVACR Contractor Licenses to individuals, contracting companies, and LLCs. According to local legislation (Sec. 875-301), there are three main types in HVAC:

  • Air Conditioning “A” – Unrestricted
  • Air Conditioning “B” – Restricted (i.e., 25 tons cooling, 500,000 BTUs heating, boiler pressures not exceeding 15 psig steam, and 30 psig water)  
  • Air Conditioning “D” – 5 tons cooling/ 300,000 BTUs heating, refrigeration, and high-pressure steam)

To qualify for this license, a person must have at least five years of experience and three signed customer reference letters. These local licenses are valid for two years, and they can be renewed following the submission of a fee and a renewal application.

Above all, since local legislation regarding HVAC credentials varies between regions of the state, interested workers and contracting businesses in Indiana are encouraged to reach out to their local government officials for details.