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Indianapolis, Indiana (IN) is the state capital and the Marion county seat but is probably best known for the Indy 500 race, the first of which ran in 1911. The Indy 500 is only one of the many sporting events—which when combined with the countless conventions, museums, and historic sites—support the prosperous tourist industry.

Other essential contributors to the diversified economy include education, healthcare, finance, and technology. One economic outlook report indicated that “technology and logistics and distribution are likely to continue to drive job growth.” The report went on to say that the most significant increases were in healthcare and social services. Other areas of growth included professional, scientific, technical, and administrative services.

Summers in Indianapolis begin in April and last until September. Temperatures go into the mid-80s during the day and drop by about 20 degrees at night. Winters are frigid, with temperatures below freezing during the night. Days are only slightly warmer. Most months receive three to five inches of rain and snowfall is moderate.

High levels of humidity and seasonal weather extremes mean that Indianapolis residents need heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to remain comfortable in their homes and workplaces. Businesses—especially those that rely on technology as well as large hospitality venues—typically require commercial-scale refrigeration (HVAC/R) and specialty climate control equipment and systems.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) reports that 1,910 HVAC mechanics and installers were employed in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN area in May of 2018. National, state, and local industry organizations provide training and networking opportunities to the technicians. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky (ABC)
  • Indiana Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (IAPHCC)
  • Indiana HVAC Association
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Indiana (MCAI)

The goal of these and similar industry associations is to ensure the health and safety of members and the public by establishing educational, licensing, safety, and performance standards.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Indianapolis, IN

The BLS (2019) anticipates an average increase of 7 percent in jobs for all occupations in the U.S. between 2016 and 2026. Opportunities for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians nationwide are expected to increase at a much faster rate (15 percent) during the same decade and the demand for new technicians in Indiana is growing even faster than the national average. By illustration, Projections Central predicts a 17.1 percent statewide increase, or 1,110 new openings, by the end of 2026.

New construction contributes significantly to the growth of the HVAC industry. However, the contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction is also a major factor. New systems and equipment are often installed to meet environmental standards. If the old equipment and systems in existing buildings are not replaced, they often must be retrofitted or upgraded. Modern climate control systems are complex and require trained technicians to install, maintain, service, and repair.

Newer HVAC equipment requires technicians that are proficient with electronics and computerized systems. Workers who specialize in new installations may experience seasonal unemployment, but the economic growth in Indianapolis—especially in technology-based industries—means that a slowdown in the demand for trained technicians is unlikely in the near future. Businesses and homeowners rely on climate control year
round, so there’s always a demand for technicians able to maintain, service, and repair equipment and systems.

HVAC Salaries in Indianapolis, IN

The BLS (May 2019) reported that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $47,610 as of May 2018. Technicians in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN area received an annual median salary of $52,290. Their earnings are even more favorable when considering that Indiana has a lower cost of living than some other U.S. states.

The table below summarizes national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals:

United States Indiana Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 324,310 6,240 1,910
Average Annual Salary $50,160 $47,770 $52,080
10th Percentile $29,460 $30,640 $33,010
25th Percentile $36,520 $36,190 $39,250
50th Percentile (Median) $47,610 $45,600 $52,290
75th Percentile $60,900 $57,800 $63,290
90th Percentile $76,230 $69,530 $73,880

HVAC Apprenticeships in Indianapolis, IN

Although it is possible for workers to start their careers as helpers and learn the trade through hands-on training, most now participate in an apprenticeship or attend classes. Those that do so typically have more employment opportunities, start with higher wages, and can earn more during their careers as HVAC technicians.

Apprenticeships include specified hours of on-the-job training and classroom work annually for three to five years. Indianapolis has several apprenticeship opportunities available.

Associated Builders and Contractors has numerous apprenticeship programs available throughout Indiana, including HVAC in Indianapolis. Their training adheres to the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) core curriculum guidelines. Further details are available on their website.

Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 166 includes HVAC training in their apprenticeship programs. The program takes five years to complete and includes 246 hours of classroom training per year and 850 hours of on-the-job training every six months. Although their program is available in many Indiana locations, it is not currently offered in Indianapolis. Apprentices who are able to commute can find locations, fees, and other details on their website.

The UA Plumbers, Pipefitters, and HVAC Service Technicians Local 440 offers apprenticeships in Indianapolis at their Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) Center. As they don’t provide details on their website, applicants must contact them directly for further information as to fees and curriculum.

Williams Comfort Air, an HVAC company based in Carmel, IN, offers a free HVAC training program. The training includes classroom instruction and practice in labs. Individuals who complete the training are prepared to take the NATE Ready to Work Certificate exam and seek entry-level employment. They are not obligated to work for Williams.

Additional HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs are available through national industry associations such as:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA)
  • Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation (SMART), formerly Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Accredited HVAC Schools in Indianapolis, IN

When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and by which organization. Accreditation is the process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the program curriculum and instructors.

Two industry organizations accredit HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence has awarded accreditation to programs at seven of the Ivy Technical Community College campuses, although the Indianapolis campus did not receive this specific accreditation. The program at the Columbus campus is included in the profiles below as it is the closest school to Indianapolis. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has not yet accredited an Indiana school.


Training at AC/C TECH focuses on residential and apartment maintenance and includes a technical certificate in HVAC management technology. Students complete coursework in five areas:

  • Electric furnace maintenance
  • Gas furnace maintenance
  • EPA technician certification
  • Air conditioning maintenance
  • Heat pump maintenance

Instruction consists of 200 hours of specialized technical training, 110 hours of online training, 40 hours of in-field training with an instructor, and 50 hours of on-the-job training with an employer.

Students may apply the certificate training toward a degree in residential and apartment technology. The degree requires 1,144 hours of specialized training in appliance repair, electrical wiring, interior/exterior building maintenance, plumbing, swimming pool maintenance, REAC inspections, and mold remediation. They also complete coursework in self-management and supervision.

  • Location: Indianapolis, IN
  • Accreditation: Indiana Board for Proprietary Education
  • Tuition: Certificate $1,500 (plus books, tools, safety equipment, and uniforms); degree $7,225 (plus books, tools, safety equipment, and uniforms)
  • Format: Online and on-campus
  • Program Length: Self-paced

Fortis College

Fortis College offers an HVAC certificate program that teaches the skills needed to troubleshoot, service, and repair commercial, industrial, and residential systems. Students also receive training in computerized diagnostics. Coursework is presented in classroom lectures and through hands-on training in labs. The curriculum includes instruction in thermodynamics, electricity, HVAC/R controls, motors and motor controls, refrigerants, residential and commercial air conditioning, commercial and industrial, refrigeration, electric heat and heat pumps, troubleshooting, service calls, and EPA certification preparation.

Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment as HVAC technicians.

  • Location: Indianapolis, IN
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $17,413 (includes fees); $1,220 for books and supplies
  • Program Length: 48 weeks

Ivy Technical Community College

Ivy Tech offers three levels of HVAC training: certificate, technical certificate, and degree. The coursework for all levels is lab-based to provide hands-on experience. Students begin with introductory HVAC and electricity coursework, then add refrigeration and electrical circuits and controls to earn their certificate. The program takes 21 credit-hours to complete.

Students wishing to earn a technical certificate complete the above coursework with the addition of the following: workplace communication, technical math, duct fabrication and installation, and heat pumps. The program requires 31 credit-hours to complete.

Degree-seeking students complete the technical coursework required for the technical certificate and six HVAC electives. They also complete coursework in general electives such as chemistry, behavioral science, physics, earth science, energy science, and English composition. They end with a green awareness capstone course. Their degree is awarded at the completion of 60 credit-hours.

  • Location: Columbus, IN
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $140.61 per credit-hour
  • Program Length: Certificate (one year); technical certificate (one year); degree (two years)

For some residents of Indiana, attending an on-campus HVAC program may be difficult due to time or distance restrictions. They may find that online institutions can better meet their needs. For more information on accredited programs available, visit the online HVAC training page on this site.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Indianapolis, IN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain EPA Section 608 Certification. There are four types of certifications according to the systems on which technicians work:

  • Type I – small appliances
  • Type II – high-pressure appliances
  • Type III – low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – all types of equipment

Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. In addition, several organizations exist that provide skill-based, employment-ready national certifications. Three of them are:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • HVAC Excellence

Their websites include details about the certifications offered and associated costs and requirements.

The State of Indiana does not require HVAC contractors to obtain a license; however, the City of Indianapolis requires licensing of HVAC and HVAC/R contractors. The license types are:

  • Air Conditioning “A” – Unrestricted
  • Air Conditioning “B” – 25 tons cooling/500,000 BTUs heating, boiler pressures not exceeding 15 psi steam and 30 psi water
  • Air Conditioning “D” – 5 tons cooling/ 300,000 BTUs heating
  • Refrigeration
  • High Pressure Steam

Applicants must pass an exam, submit proof of a combination of five years related experience and industry education, references, proof of insurance coverage, a completed application, and the appropriate fee. The license must be renewed every two years.

As governing bodies can modify licensing requirements, HVAC professionals are encouraged to ensure that they have all necessary licenses before beginning any projects.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.