HVAC Training Schools in Louisiana

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Louisiana is a prime location for those pursuing a career in heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC). HVAC professionals install and maintain climate-control systems, which are present in commercial and residential buildings across the state. The Bayou State has especially hot and humid summers. In fact, the U.S. Climate Data reported that the average high temperature in July was 91 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low in December was 47; this broad temperature range encourages many residents to head indoors and take advantage of A/C or heat. In short, the Louisiana climate feeds a demand for skilled HVAC workers.

Additionally, there are numerous professional organizations and unions that offer member benefits to workers in the area. For example, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 60 operates in New Orleans and offers support to HVAC workers and other skilled tradespeople. Members have access to hands-on training and education, community service efforts, healthcare plans, networking opportunities, and much more. This organization also maintains an apprenticeship program for aspiring professionals covered at length in a section below.

Similarly, the Local Union 198 is headquartered in Baton Rouge area and currently represents over 2,200 skilled trade professionals. This organization also offers apprenticeship and journey-level preparation, along with safety training, testing and certification, and access to benefits obtained through collective bargaining efforts. Ultimately, these unions are only two of many that provide professional representation and advocacy for HVAC workers throughout Louisiana.

So what do HVAC professionals in Louisiana do? While the responsibilities vary by employer and level of training, here’s a list of the typical duties held by many HVAC professionals:

  • Offer education to customers on how to conserve energy
  • Test circuitry and components of HVAC equipment
  • Verify compliance with all local and federal regulations
  • Perform heat load and loss calculations
  • Braze and solder parts
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Maintain all necessary credentialing
  • Keep service records
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Travel to job sites

Also, all aspiring HVAC professionals in Louisiana should be aware that people who handle refrigerants need to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification; failing to maintain this certification is against the law.

Overall, beginning a career in the HVAC industry requires a solid understanding of the field through some form of skills education or training. The following guide explores HVAC programs in Louisiana, including discussions of salary prospects, career outlook, and local credentialing.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Louisiana

Between 2014 and 2024, job openings for HVAC professionals are expected to grow nationwide. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016) predicted that HVAC positions in the country would increase by 39,600 during that decade, an overall expansion of 14 percent; to put this in perspective, openings across all U.S. occupations were expected to swell an average of only 6.5 percent. And the HVAC industry is already fairly strong, with 294,730 workers operating throughout the country earning an average annual salary of $48,320. Furthermore, HVAC workers in Louisiana were expected to see their opportunities swell substantially between 2014 and 2024 as well; specifically, Projections Central reported that positions in Louisiana’s HVAC industry would expand by 9.2 percent, leading to the creation of 500 new jobs.

There are several reasons for the expected growth in the HVAC industry over the coming years. For one, nearly all new buildings constructed in Louisiana include climate-control systems, the installation and maintenance of which requires skilled professionals. In addition, these systems generally need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Finally, the laws and regulations surrounding climate-control technology are subject to change; to comply with evolving regulations, the HVAC workers must routinely update equipment and systems.

One of the easiest ways to visualize this high demand for HVAC professionals in Louisiana is through a simple online job search. For example, a search for “HVAC jobs in Louisiana” on Indeed (Oct. 2017) yielded 845 opportunities with companies such as East Jefferson General Hospital, the Louisiana State Government, AmeriGas, Textron, Virginia College, and Aramark, among others; a similar search on Monster (October 2017) brought up 843 results with organizations including Sunbelt Rentals, Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists, Inc., Tradesmen International, Inc., Dove Group, LLC, and Moore Construction, among others.

HVAC Worker Salary in Louisiana

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016), HVAC professionals earn relatively competitive salaries. In fact, the median salary for HVAC workers nationwide was $45,910 per year or $22.07 per hour. In more detail, here were the salary percentiles of HVAC professionals across the country:

United States (294,730 HVAC workers): $48,320 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $28,440
  • 25th percentile: $35,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,910
  • 75th percentile: $58,960
  • 90th percentile: $73,350

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $23.23/hr. Average

  • 10th percentile: $13.67/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.04/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.07/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.35/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.26/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (Oct. 2017), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 478 HVAC workers responding

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,956
  • 75th percentile: $55,000
  • 90th percentile: $69,000

An additional 2,550 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.27/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

The average salary for HVAC workers in Louisiana is slightly lower than that of the rest of the nation, although it is still extremely competitive. It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living in Louisiana is also more affordable than most of the country. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (2017) found that LA was the eighteenth most affordable state and boasted particular savings in housing and utilities. Please keep this in mind while evaluating the following salary prospects.

The BLS (May 2016) found that there were 4,130 HVAC professionals working in Louisiana earning an average annual wage of $44,740. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles for Louisiana’s thriving HVAC industry:

Louisiana (4,130 HVAC workers): $44,740 average

  • 10th percentile: $28,420
  • 25th percentile: $34,570
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,890
  • 75th percentile: $53,330
  • 90th percentile: $62,280

In hourly figures, these equated to:

Louisiana: $21.51/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $13.66/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.62/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $20.62/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $25.64/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.94/hr.

Finally, the BLS designated 12 regions within Louisiana. Not surprisingly, the 780 HVAC workers in Baton Rouge earned the highest average salary in the state ($51,060). Here were the detailed salary data for the 12 regions:

Alexandria, LA (80 HVAC workers): $38,570 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $17,140
  • 25th percentile: $20,110
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,250
  • 75th percentile: $58,240
  • 90th percentile: $62,780

Baton Rouge, LA (780 HVAC workers): $51,060 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $34,060
  • 25th percentile: $41,530
  • 50th percentile (median): $51,870
  • 75th percentile: $60,390
  • 90th percentile: $68,310

Central Louisiana Nonmetropolitan Area (140 HVAC workers): $37,690 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $24,130
  • 25th percentile: $31,120
  • 50th percentile (median): $35,970
  • 75th percentile: $42,700
  • 90th percentile: $50,810

Hammond, LA (100 HVAC workers): $44,530 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,310
  • 25th percentile: $37,100
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,250
  • 75th percentile: $49,600
  • 90th percentile: $62,510

Houma-Thibodaux, LA (250 HVAC workers): $50,620 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $35,280
  • 25th percentile: $37,940
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,300
  • 75th percentile: $57,430
  • 90th percentile: $85,970

Lafayette, LA (610 HVAC workers): $45,050 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $25,330
  • 25th percentile: $32,280
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,650
  • 75th percentile: $53,230
  • 90th percentile: $69,530

Lake Charles, LA (unknown number of HVAC workers): $34,870 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $25,750
  • 25th percentile: $27,820
  • 50th percentile (median): $32,230
  • 75th percentile: $38,670
  • 90th percentile: $52,070

Monroe, LA (210 HVAC workers): $43,820 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,540
  • 25th percentile: $32,160
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,670
  • 75th percentile: $55,080
  • 90th percentile: $61,870

New Orleans-Metairie, LA (1,190 HVAC workers): $41,190 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,580
  • 25th percentile: $34,410
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,830
  • 75th percentile: $47,630
  • 90th percentile: $55,010

Northeast Louisiana Nonmetropolitan Area (90 HVAC workers): $47,110 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,820
  • 25th percentile: $34,280
  • 50th percentile (median): $38,920
  • 75th percentile: $48,140
  • 90th percentile: $94,010

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA (310 HVAC workers): $49,430 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $30,160
  • 25th percentile: $37,280
  • 50th percentile (median): $50,950
  • 75th percentile: $59,770
  • 90th percentile: $70,060

Southwest Louisiana Nonmetropolitan Area (170 HVAC workers): $44,020 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,640
  • 25th percentile: $38,350
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,990
  • 75th percentile: $49,790
  • 90th percentile: $57,970

Accredited HVAC Schools in Louisiana

Those interested in pursuing a career in the HVAC industry in Louisiana can complete various training programs; there are not only traditional degree and certificate programs available, but also a wealth of apprenticeships as well.

As mentioned in the introduction, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 60 offers an apprenticeship program for aspiring professionals, which many consider to be an excellent way to develop skills while earning a salary. The apprenticeship program lasts for five years, during which the participant works and attends classes, earning a wage that is a percentage of that earned by the journey-level supervisors on the job. The apprentice can emerge from this program with an associate degree, as well, and the high-quality training provided by this organization is one of the reasons this program is competitive.

Another option is to pursue a technical diploma as a certified HVAC technician from Delgado Community College in New Orleans or Metairie—a program which is accredited by HVAC Excellence. This diploma can be completed in two semesters, and students take courses on topics such as building code and licensing, a survey of computer applications, principles of refrigeration, residential system design, and electrical components and motors. Tuition is set at $133.93 for one credit-hour, excluding additional costs or fees.

Additionally, the Blue Cliff College has campuses in Houma and Lafayette which offer an HVAC diploma. Students in this program take courses on residential and commercial heating and cooling fundamentals, industry standards and regulations, electrical systems, blueprint reading, and indoor air quality standards, among many more. This program can be completed in as few as nine months for the day program (12 for the night program), and tuition costs of $15,365 total, including books, supplies, and other fees.

A growing number of HVAC workers choose to enroll in accredited programs, which generally take between six months and two years to complete. There are two main organizations which accredit HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. As of October 2017, there were no PAHRA-accredited programs in the state, although there were several with approval from HVAC Excellence. In addition to Delgado Community College profiled above, here are the other accredited HVAC programs in Louisiana:

Louisiana HVAC Certification and Licensing

As mentioned in the introduction, all HVAC workers in Louisiana who handle refrigerants are required to obtain the EPA Section 608 Certification. There are four subtypes: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Nearly all educational HVAC programs prepare graduates to pass at least one of these examinations.

Additionally, an array of other skill-specific certifications are available for Louisiana HVAC workers. These are offered through HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams or ICE); the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator); and more. These employment-ready certifications can be useful when searching for a job or when negotiating for higher pay. Check out the HVAC certifications page for a detailed breakdown of national credentialing.

Finally, aspiring HVAC workers in the state should be aware of all regional credentialing requirements to ensure they have proper licensure before starting work in this field. Specifically, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors requires HVAC applicants to complete a 100-question multiple choice test, the outline of which is available online. Commercial HVAC contractors must also show a minimum of $10,000 net worth; this specific license covers commercial projects with a value of $50,000 or more. Residential licenses are also required for residential projects worth $75,000 or more, although the application is the same.

Above all, HVAC professionals in Louisiana should perform due diligence when researching the licensure requirements. By obtaining all required certifications and licenses, HVAC workers can stay within the bounds of the law as they advance in their careers.